Selection of a niche is the first step once you decide to start your own blog. Niche should be regarded as the foundation on which your blog would stand and grow. A stronger foundation in the form of well researched niche selection will make sure that your blog grows (or at least has potential to grow). on the contrary, a weaker selection of niche would mean that your blog would crumble due to one reason or other.
This is why an intensive research and at least a few session of brainstorming is essential when you start choosing the niche of your blog. A wrong selection of niche will mean no or little growth of your blog in the long run. Proper selection becomes more important when you have long term plans with your blog.
Before I go on with the points it would be nice to explain the meaning of 'niche' to someone who is new to the blogging thing or new to internet world.
What is niche?Niche is a term that emanated from ecology.In ecology, a niche refers to the place or position occupied by an organism or a population within an ecological community called the ecosystem.
In internet world, niche refers to the specific areas or topics that the blog/site covers. Let us suppose you write (or plan to write) about Basketball in your blog then it becomes your niche.
Depending on the size the niche can be larger and less specific or smaller and more specific. Let us again take the example of Basketball. Your niche would be larger and less specific if you discuss everything about Basketball in your blog. On the other hand, it would be smaller and more specific if you just cover one smaller topic about Basketball like, 'Great players of Basketball'.
How to choose niche of your blog?First let me ask a question to you.
What a good niche should be like?
Personally I define a good niche as one which -
- interests you
- has lesser competition
- has more number of audience
- is profitable and,
- big enough so that you can write indefinitely and small enough so that you have lesser competition to face.
Now let us come back to the question. How to choose niche of your blog?
What I am going to tell here is about a series of steps that you should go through to make proper selection of niche.Those steps can be summarized as
- Make list of things you are passionate about
- Research the search volume
- Research the competition
- Research the market for profitability
- Select the niche
Step-1 Make list of things you are passionate about-
In any case I would advice you to choose a niche you are interested in (and not people are interested in). This point of view has certainly got some solid facts in its backing. By choosing a topic of your interest you make sure that-
- You enjoy your blogging even for years
- You are kept motivated as the niche is of your interest
- You already have some basic knowledge about your niche
- You might evolve as an expert just because it is of your interest
- What is your full time job?
- What is your favorite pastime?
- What are your hobbies?
- What are the games that you love to play?
- Do you have some qualities that make you different from others? Like, are you a better painter or an artist or a musician?
- In which subject did you graduated?
- Do you like to travel and travel many times in a year?
- What are the things you love to do?
Just see how the things you do in your day to day life affect the niche selection. I would once again would like to repeat, choose a niche you are interested in. This will make blogging more easier and more enjoyable.
Step-2 Research the search volume
Search volume gives an idea about the number of audience you have. The most tragic thing about blogging would be not getting any audience or getting little of them. So, you should choose a niche where you have wider audience to present your content to. Without audiences you would be blogging for yourself which doesn't make sense.
Researching the search volume helps you by giving a broader idea about the size of visitors that you might get on your blog. But the big question here is, How to research the search volume of a particular niche?
Well this can be done by making use of one of the free tools available on the net- Google Adwords Keyword tool.
So, How do you make use of this tool?
I would suppose that you have already made a list of things you are passionate about as stated in the previous step. Let us suppose you are interested in- "pet care" , "computer languages" and " Skin care"
Now just go to the Adwords keyword tool and type in these terms in the box provided as shown in the figure below.(marked by a red arrow)
Now if I type in "pet care" in the box, this tool presents me with the search volume of this word and other related terms, like, "dog pet care", "pet care tips" etc. The list looks as shown in the image below-
Now choose the words or phrases that have highest search volumes in the list. Choose at least 10 such phrases. Repeat the procedure for other topics also. Now you will have a comprehensive lists of topics with the search volumes of each of them. This completes this step.
Step-3 Research the competition
No matter on what topic you start your blog upon, there will always be other blogs and websites to compete with you. Getting your feet into a highly competitive niche will dwindle the chances of your blog being noticed. So, you should always target a niche having lesser competition. This will brighten the chances ofyour being noticed.
Now, the question here is how the competition is researched?
The best place to research competition is the search engines. Just type in the words or phrase you have compied in previous steps and notice the following things-
- The number of website competing for the phrase.
- The pageranks of the top websites for each phrase.
Just note down these stats in an excel sheet for each of the phrases you have discovered in previous step.
Now analyze the data and choose the phrases with lesser competition (as reflected by by lesser number of websites and lesser pagerank of the competing website).This completes this step.Now I would move on to the next step- researching the profitability of niche.
Step-4 Research the profitability of niche
Most of the bloggers blog for money. You may not think of money while starting your blog but down the road money factor come into play. That is the time when many bloggers start remorsing of not having a blog in profitable niche. So, here my advice would be to think of a profitable niche even if you are not interested in money making while starting your blog. This ,of course , is my personal view and many of you might differ from me in this context.
I will suppose here that you are blogging for money and for that you need a profitable niche.But the question here is how one can know whether a niche is profitable or not. I make use of two websites fior this. One is Adwords keyword tool and other is Clickbank. Here is what you have to do.
Open Adwords keyword tool by following the link and type in the phrases you have compiled in the above steps. Choose "show all" from the drop down menu once the list of keywords start showing in your browser. See the picture below.
After clicking "show all" tab the tool shows the bidding amount (Avg. CPC) in one of the column as shown in the picture below. In general keywords with high bidding amount are more profitable.
The otherway to check the profitability of a niche is through clickbank.com. This is a portal for affiliate marketers and this can be used to check profitability. In the marketplace of this website type in the phrases you have chosen in the keyword field. The niche can be regarded as profitable if it shows a lot of related products.
Step- 5 Select the Niche
Now after following these above four steps you have a lot of data on the individual niches you have selected. Just compare the data you have collected uptill now and choose the one which suits you best. Make sure your niche your niche is not too large nor too small.
Proper niche selection is the basic step to succed as a blogger. Failing to choose a proper niche can make blogging disgusting and more like a burden rather than a fun.Remember one thing niche is the base of your blog. A weaker base will never help your blog grow.So, just spend some time to research a better niche for you.