How to Start a Blog – Step 1: Pick Your Niche

When you have decided that you want to learn how to start a blog, it might seem a bit daunting trying to choose just the right niche to make the most money possible. One of the biggest mistakes that new bloggers make is choosing a niche that is extremely broad or overly saturated.

This is not to say that you can’t make money in a popular, broad niche, but it does take more time and work to grow that kind of blog to the level where it makes good money.

How to Pick a Niche – Passion vs. Moneymakers

So where do you start when you want to pick the right niche and learn how to start a blog? There are two schools of thought on picking a niche. Some people say that you should just choose something you are passionate about because you will want to wake up every morning and write quality content.

While that is a great thought, if your biggest hobby is underwater basket weaving, you are unlikely to make a great income blogging about it.

One often overlooked component in blogging is that you need to be able to find related products to promote to your customer base in order to make money. Of course, you could create a blog with simple AdSense or other banner ads, but it might take longer to see a profit over time.

On the other hand, some people say you should only pick topics that are known moneymakers whether you are interested in them or not. While that might work for some people, others need to have at least a passing interest in their topic in order to be successful.

In short, when you learn how to start a blog, you want to be certain that thousands (if not millions) of other people share your enthusiasm and interest in the topic and will pay money for products and/or services that you have to offer in the niche from time to time. No matter what, the key to the whole niche selection process is choosing the right keywords and getting your research together before building a blog site.

Keyword Tools

There are many free online keyword research tools to find keywords. One popular tool is the free Google Keyword tool.  After you have entered the keywords, you can check the amount of advertisers in that niche by gauging the bar in the “Competition” column.  You can even assess how lucrative the keywords are by click on the “Columns” button, and then enable the “Suggested Bid” checkbox.

This site is handy for many different tasks including your search for a blog topic. Let’s say you know that dating is a popular niche, so you want to do something in that niche. The problem is that going after such a broad niche can be the kiss of death for most new bloggers. So it’s important to find a sub-niche on dating in this case.

One way of doing that is putting in a “seed keyword”. You could start with “finding a date” and whittle the keyword options down further and further. Perhaps, in the end, you find that you would be interested in blogging about “finding a date for young professionals in their 20s & 30s.” There are many sub-topics to choose once you have a general idea of your topic.

The idea behind blogging is to develop a loyal following. To that end, it is important that you target your niche with laser-like focus so that you are one of the only people providing such specific content to a group of people. Additionally, you want to be sure that enough people are interested in your niche so that you get enough traffic.

If only 10 people per month are searching for your keyword, you need to either move on to another topic or see if there are other related keywords to create a bigger blog.

You can use tools other than the Google Keyword tool also. For instance, two other free tools are the SEObook keyword tool and Google Insights for Search. There are also other paid tools that are a lot fancier. We recommend you get a proven keyword research tool to find your keywords quickly and accurately.

The Google Insights tool gives additional information that can be very important during the niche research phase. It shows you how popular search terms are and what kind of history they have. For example, Christmas phrases would be highly searched from October through December, but most blogs would be quiet throughout the rest of the year. That can have a direct impact on your income.

Check the trends for your keywords and make sure that enough interest is there throughout the year to give you a reason to put your time and effort into the topic. This tool can also help you maximize your chances of making bursts of income at different times of the year as well.

So how do you know the proper way to research a keyword? The answer is that there is no “right” way. Everyone has their own opinion as to the number of searches that a keyword phrase should have to make it worthwhile.

You can find yourself spending so much time researching that you never get around to creating quality content for your blog. Don’t over-analyze things. Often, you will find yourself with a list of keywords that, when added up, will give you plenty of potential search volume for the month.

The key is finding a way to get to the #1 slot on Google so that you can get the bulk of the daily searches for your keywords.

Once you have picked your keyword, you can also search what affiliate programs are available and check their commission.  Choosing a niche for your blog does not need to be a long, drawn out process. Use a mixture of your interests and knowledge to make your selection.

Here’s a quick tip: if you do a search on Google for a topic and people are paying money to run AdWords ads on the right side, they are making money. If you see TV commercials or magazine ads about your topic, they are making money. It’s a good bet that you will make money too!  So get started today and pick that lucrative niche that you will dominate!

Be sure to check our How to Start a Blog page to give you an overview of the process.  In our next step, we’ll be talking about our recommended web host, which comes with 1-click installation of WordPress, our favorite easy to use blog publishing platform: the one we use for all our sites.

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