How to Choose a Profitable Niche in 2019* Beginners’ Guide
Are you blogging because it’s so much enjoyable that you’re forgetting to eat or pay the bills? Or are you blogging to make tons of cash?
Yes! It is possible to do both. In fact, your odds of success as a blogger are better when you love the process while still approaching it like a business.
Nevertheless, numerous people start blogging about a topic that interests them without initially giving any consideration to creating income or building a business from it.
Others intentionally build a site around a topic they know will generate income, but they don’t give two hoots about the topic. They just want to make money.
You will at no time make a decent income with the first strategy. You can make money blogging with the second — but it won’t be sustainable. In due course you’ll grow bored with the work, and it will influence your ability to grow your business.
I know this because I’ve tried both strategies — separately and together. I’ve built sites just based on fun and enjoyment, and I’ve eventually had to backtrack and rethink my plan to make the blog profitable (which is very time-consuming) or abandon the project altogether.
I’ve also created sites just with the idea of making money, but without any real connection to the topic, and my interest and commitment faded quickly.
Most of the possible ways for the success of a site occurs in the planning phase, before you choose a name, buy a domain name, decide on a blog design, or write the first blog post.
Finding your blogging niche is an art and a science that requires careful thought, research, and planning.
A niche – in simple terms – is the general topic matter that you write about. It’s the passion or main theme of your blog. When you have a niche, all your posts revolve around that main theme, and that’s essentially all you talk about.
# 1. Identify your Interests and Passions.
The first step in coming up with the perfect niche is making a list of what you are passionate about. What ideas would make you thrilled to go to work every day? If you are passionate about your business, you will more likely to put all of your time and energy into it.
This sounds so basic, but it really makes all the difference. Don’t just pick a niche because you’re “kind of interested” in it; to be sustainable, it should ideally be something you can see yourself being passionate about for at least 5 years*.
Finding an area that you’re both well-informed about and that you love is the sweet spot for classifying your niche. I personally did this with my productivity calendar and it’s done very well for me.
It’s also significant to think about which areas you have distinct skills or experience in. What do people often tell you you’re good at? What’s your training or education in? What special skills or knowledge have you developed through your work?
This requires spending hours every day reading, researching, and writing about your topic, answering reader’s questions, guest posting, and talking about your subject on social media.
You will set more hours into your business and effort into your website, store, or office, making it a success. Find out what you love to do and what problem you want to be the one to have a solution in order to become a success in your niche.
This doesn’t mean that you need to find a perfect fit. If you are passionate about some aspect of running the business, you will stick with it. If you don’t care about the topic, you may not be able to find the drive within to continue.
If you don’t love the topic, if you don’t feel passionate about it, sooner or later you’ll want to chew off your own foot to escape the boredom. You can’t sustain that amount of work around a subject that doesn’t make you froth at the mouth with enthusiasm.
Business isn’t easy, and at some point, it will test you. If you are working in an area that you don’t care about, your chances of quitting will greatly increase — especially as a first-time business owner.
Here are a few prompts to help you determine what your interests and passions are:
- How do you like to spend your free time? What do you look forward to doing when you aren’t doing it?
- What magazines do you subscribe to? What topics do you like to learn about most?
- What clubs or organizations do you belong to?
Is this something you love to do in your free time, or that you’d do even if you weren’t getting paid for it?
This could be a great option for your niche. To become an authority blogger, one who is viewed as having credibility, integrity, and depth of knowledge, you need to become an expert in your
# 2. Identify the Problems It can Solve
With your list of topics in needle, you’re ready to start narrowing down your choices. To generate a profitable business, you first need to look for problems your target customers are facing, then define whether you can actually solve them. Here are some things you can do to classify problems in specific niches:
- Have one-on-one discussions or idea-extraction sessions with your target market. Make sure to find or create a outline for asking questions that helps you uncover pain points.
- Scrutinize forums. Search Quora, or find forums related to your niche, then take a look at the dialogs that are taking place. What queries are people asking? What problems do they have?
- Research keywords. Explore different keyword combinations on Google Trends and Google AdWords’ keyword planner. This can help you reveal popular search terms related to pain points.
# 3. Determine the Profitability of Your Niche
You should now have a pretty good idea of what niche you’re going to get into. Maybe you haven’t narrowed your list down to a single topic area, but you’ve likely found a few ideas you feel pretty good about.
At this point, it’s imperative to get an idea of how much money you have likely to make in your niche.
You also want to make sure there’s a need for it; or else your work will stay a hobby, never growing into a profitable business.
And one way to start figuring out the market is with some simple keyword research. The Google Keyword Planner is a great tool for this.
Type in some keywords linked to your niche, and see which words and phrases get suggested.
You can also browse top products in your category. If you can’t find any offers, that’s not a good sign. It might mean that nobody has been able to monetize the niche.
If your search does turn up a decent number of products — but not an excess of products — you’re in luck. Make note of price points so that you can price your own products in a competitive manner.
Also keep in mind that you don’t have to begin your business with a product offering of your own. You can partner with products creators, advertisers and site owners in your niche to begin generating commissions while you’re working on your excellent solution.
# 4. Narrow Your Niche
At this point, you may want to narrow your niche down even more. For example, you may have found that “freelance writing” is a popular niche, but want to see if you can find an even narrower focus for your niche.
One of the best ways to do this is to visit related forums, Facebook groups and sub reddits.
Use a tool like Redditlist to see which subtopics or sub-niches you might want to follow. Just type in your main keywords and scroll through the most popular subreddits to see if any appeal to you.
Dig even deeper by visiting these subreddits, as well as niche groups and forums, to see which topics or questions come up frequently. This could help you further define your niche (e.g., “freelance science fiction writers”), as well as help you come up with additional sub-niches or blog topic ideas for the future.
# 5. Check Your Competition
The presence of competition isn’t certainly a bad thing. It may actually be showing you that you’ve found a lucrative niche. But you do need to do a detailed analysis of rival sites. Create a new spreadsheet and start logging all of the competing sites you can find.
Then figure out whether there’s still an opportunity to stand out in the crowd. Can you still rank for your keywords? Is there a way to distinguish yourself and create a unique offer? Here are some signs that you can enter a niche and be successful, even if there are already other sites serving it:
- Low-quality content. It’s easy to outrank your rivalry in a niche where other business owners are not making high-quality, detailed content that serves the audience.
- Lack of transparency. Many online entrepreneurs have upset entire industries by creating a genuine and transparent presence in a niche where other sites are faceless and overly corporate.
- Lack of paid competition. If you’ve found a keyword that has relatively high search volume, but little competition and paid advertising, an opportunity definitely exists for you to upset the market.
Keyword research is also vital, but you’ll also want to see for yourself what the competition is like for your niche.
Google some of the keywords you’ve found to see which sites come up on page one. You’ll find one of three things:
- There are already loads of well-known sites ranking for those keywords. This niche may be oversaturated and it may be better to find one that isn’t quite so popular.
- There are no sites ranking for those keywords. Be cautious here – this could indicate that there’s lots of opportunity, but more likely it means others have already discovered there’s no market for this niche.
- There are some sites ranking for those keywords, but they’re generally smaller or low quality. This is generally a good sign that this niche is worth pursuing. There is likely some market for this niche, and the competition won’t be too harsh.
Hats off! At this point you’ve chosen a niche and scoped out the competition. Now it’s time to see if this niche is actually as popular and profitable as you’re hoping.
# 6. Test Your Niche
You are now equipped with all of the information you need to choose a niche, and the only thing left to do is test your idea.
While the market studies you’ve already done is helpful, testing the market in real-time can really show you whether you’re on the exact track.
One simple way to do this is to set up a landing page for pre-sales of a product you’re developing. You can then drive traffic to this page with paid advertising.
Another way to validate your niche is to study your target market. Promote your survey anywhere you have contact with your target market: in your guest posts, in industry-related groups, on social media, via Google surveys (you can pay Google to promote these for you), etc.
Given what you’ve learned through your PPC testing and surveys, you should now feel confident (or not!) in setting up your niche website and social media profiles.
Even if you don’t get pre-sales, that doesn’t certainly mean that you aren’t in a doable niche. It could be that your messaging isn’t fairly right, or you haven’t found the correct offer yet. By leveraging A/B split testing, you can boost conversions and find out whether or not there is anything stopping your target market from taking action.
Once you’ve established the viability of a niche, start developing a full-fledged website. You’ll want to learn how to create a blog, and generate more traffic to your site to boost your revenue and scale up.
While this 6-step process won’t guarantee you’ll be successful in your niche, it should trigger some ideas and give you a great place to start. It will also help reduce the risk inherent in starting a niche site, saving you time, money and frustration.
Are you currently trying to figure out your niche? Are you going to use the strategies above to narrow down your options? Share below!