Choosing a niche can feel incredibly daunting as a new blogger – how do bloggers find their niche, anyway? Maybe you know you want to start a blog, but have no idea what to write about. Or you have an idea, but aren’t sure how to validate it.
Either way, this post is here to help.
What is a Niche, Anyway?
A niche, in short, is the category you choose for your blog.
It’s really that simple.
When people say niche down they mean to choose a more specific niche. A general niche is a broad category of topics, whereas a narrow niche is a more specific topic.
For example, health is a niche. Fitness is a more specific niche, and weightlifting is an even more specific niche.
How specific you should go is a matter of debate among bloggers, but if you’re interested in reading more about it, I have a guide on Whether You Should Niche Down (or Niche Up).
But to keep it super simple, your niche is the topic you’ll be writing about on your blog.
How Do I Come Up With a Niche?
If you already have an idea of what you want to write about, you can skip this section and head down to the questions on Validating Your Niche.
If you have no idea where to start coming up with a niche idea, like I was, this section is for you!
Step 1: What are your interests?
You guys know I love my brainstorming and list-making, so start with a fresh page and start writing down all of your interests. What are your hobbies? What is your lifestyle like?
People skip thinking critically about the life they’re already living as a possible source of topics because they think they’re boring. But don’t skip this! What seems super common to you could actually be a huge source of content.
I had a conversation once with another aspiring blogger who said she thought about blogging about food but that would be impossible for her. She tried to come up with other ideas, but kept circling back to how much she loved cooking and trying new recipes and food combinations. Finally I asked her why she couldn’t just blog about food, since it was clear that she was more than cut out to be a food blogger.
“I can’t blog about food because I don’t eat meat or dairy. People who aren’t vegan won’t read an entire blog just about vegan food!”
Talk about a lightbulb moment! I was like, dude. People who DO eat vegan very much WILL read an entire blog about vegan food. Are you kidding?! That’s a match made in heaven, right there.
You don’t need to serve the masses. Finding a niche is exactly that… finding YOUR small little corner of the
internet where you can set up shop and start a business.
What I’m saying is, don’t discount things that might seem like a non-topic to you. Think about all of the times you’ve Googled a recipe, or scrolled Instagram or Pinterest for content related to a hobby you have. Other people are doing these things too…
So write all those things down.
Step 2: Your story
No matter what life stage you’re at, I can pretty much guarantee you’re trying to make something happen.
Maybe you’re losing weight. Maybe you’re trying to raise your credit score or become debt free. Or, maybe you’re in the process of furnishing and decorating your first house.
Having a baby, having a kid transition into middle or high school, transitioning yourself out of college and into the workforce? Moving out of your parent’s house for the first time? Healing after divorce, finding your groove, building your relationships…
Whatever is going on in your life right now, one major thing is true: You’re not the only person this is happening to.
There are blogs about healing after cancer. There are blogs for learning how to adult. If you look hard enough, there are blogs for almost every life stage you could possibly be at. These are all niches, too.
Step 3: Your voice and skills
This is one area I feel is often overlooked, but can make or break your content.
Are you funny? Empathetic? Bossy? What is your writing voice like?
Some styles lend themselves better to certain niches over others. Likewise, some of your talents may translate well into a niche you wouldn’t have otherwise considered.
If you’re a stickler for aesthetic details and making everything look just right, then a more visual niche like fashion or beauty or home decorating might be more up your alley than, say, someone who has never used Instagram in their life and can’t fathom why it’s popular.
Or if you’re the kind of person who is dreading going back to work after maternity leave and would do anything to stay at home with your children (like starting a blog!), loves talking about and raising children, then starting a mom blog could be a great idea for you, while someone who needs a career separate from her family to maintain a sense of identity would be very frustrated with that.
Step 4: Start pulling out ideas!
Now’s the time to go through your brainstormed list and start highlighting things you think could work as a niche. It’s also a good time to think about whether you can combine ideas, or take one and shrink it down.
Once you’ve got a few ideas singled out, it’s time to think critically about each one.
Luckily, I’ve got a super simple four-step questionnaire to help you find the perfect niche!
Four Questions to Ask Yourself to Find Your Niche
1. Do You Know About It or Can You Learn About It?
For years, “write what you know” has been passed on like age-old sage advice. It reads as Step 1 of a how-to-write manual. It’s also pretty much garbage.
On the surface, it’s good advice – you wouldn’t want to rely on your five year old for stock market information, because he’s just grasping the concepts of adding numbers together. Right? But too many people take this to mean that they should only write on a topic if they’re already an expert.
I promise you, that’s not the case.
Some of the best blogs out there are written by people who are learning as they go and sharing what they learn with the rest of us. Parenting blogs aren’t run by parenting experts and early childhood educators – they’re run by parents. Most personal finance blogs aren’t run by financial advisors, but people who dedicated themselves to becoming debt free, making extra income, or money saving techniques, and are passing on that knowledge.
You don’t have to already know everything there is to know about a topic in order to write about it. You just have to know enough that you know how to learn more, and be willing to write about what you learn.
2. Can You Write About It?
When I was first deciding on my niche, I thought I wanted to start a home décor and organizing blog. I was super inspired by blogs like A Bowl Full of Lemons and I Heart Organizing, and I wanted to do something similar.
There were two problems here:
1 – I didn’t want to have to photograph my own house (I live in a small duplex with not a lot of space), and
2 – I couldn’t actually come up with any other ideas.
As silly as it sounds, just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean you’ll be able to write a ton on the topic. In my case, I much preferred visiting other blogs and getting inspired by what they were doing, than trying to come up with my own ideas for unique content.
Start with a blank piece of paper (or a fresh page in your notebook) and see if you can brainstorm 20-50 post title ideas without looking at other blogs for inspiration. Just write as many as you can come up with. If you find yourself struggling for ideas after five or ten, this might not be the best niche to try to run an entire blog on.
3. Can You Market It?
Somewhere, somehow, someone got the idea that competition in business is a bad thing.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Starting out with competitors already in place, who are doing well for themselves, is the best thing that could ever happen to you.
Why? Because now you know the market exists, and you know that people are attracted to it. Better yet, you can easily look at your competition and figure out how they’re attracting those people, and what is working for them.
Now, yes, there’s something to be said for claiming a microniche so specific, you own that little part of the topic and no one else is doing what you do. It can be very lucrative – IF you can reach your audience.
Do a couple quick searches on Pinterest and Google. Can you find other websites in your niche? If your niche is super specific, can you find other websites related to that niche?
If so, how are they doing? How long have they been around, and how much were they able to grow?
The internet is huge – if you can really only find a small number of similar sites, and they don’t seem to be doing very well, that’s likely an indicator that niche isn’t as robust as you might think.
4. Can You Monetize It?
Lastly, come up with a monetization plan. The easiest way to do this is to take a look around to see if you can find affiliates in your niche. There are a number of ways you can do this:
a. If you’re already a member of an affiliate network like FlexOffers, take a look through their categories to see what they offer in your niche.
b. Come up with some products or services you’d like to promote to your future audience and see if an affiliate program exists for that. The easiest way to do this is to just Google “[company name] affiliate program” and see what comes up. Often if they’re a part of a major affiliate network you’ll find that out easily.
c. Remember those other sites you found in question 3? Go click around their site for a minute and see what sorts of things they’re promoting. This isn’t to copy their affiliates, but to be sure that there are healthy affiliate partners in your niche
Additionally, you’ll want to have at least a vague idea of a possible product you can sell in this niche. As a new blogger, there’s no rush to have the product ready to go yet, but ask yourself: What could I create that this market needs? Can I write an ebook that will solve a problem for these readers? What about a course or printables? Can I create a tool that would be valuable in this space?
Hopefully, by now you’ve come up with an idea that works for you and checks all the boxes you need it to! I wish you the very best of luck in your blogging journey 😊
Ready to get started? Read my step-by-step guide on how to start your money-making blog today in just minutes!