The Foundations of a Great Blog - Finding Your Niche
Great blogs start with great ideas, and one of the most important foundations to build your blog on is understanding the niche that you are going to fill. This article explores the various areas that you need to look at as a writer or content creator to identify the right topic for your blog to focus on.
Blogging is a great way to share your ideas, passion, approach and insight with others. They have never been more popular and can certainly be an effective tool to promote your personal or professional opinions and interests. Although making money with your blog can be tricky, it certainly is possible.
If you're serious about the success of your blog, you'll need to build a good foundation; this starts with understanding the niche that your blog is going to fill.
The main principles you need to follow are:
- Define your blogging niche and approach - Understand exactly what it is that you are going to write about and how you're going to write about it
- Define what you don't do - This is just as important as understanding what you do and helps you focus on your niche
We'll go into both of these in more detail below.
Define your blogging niche and approach
The first step is to decide exactly what you are going to blog about as it's much harder to make money from blogs in more competitive niches. This is the most important decision you'll make, so you'll need to think about it very carefully. Here are some questions to ask when picking a blog subject:
- Is the subject something that you already know a fair bit about, or where you could easily build your expertise? - This is important if you want people to trust what you are writing about.
- Is this a subject that inspires you or that you care or feel passionately about? - If you're going to be writing about this for the next few years, you don't want to get bored with it.
- Can you bring a unique approach or perspective to the subject? - Because there are probably dozens of blogs out there already on a similar subject to yours, bringing a fresh perspective will help you stand out from the crowd.
- Is the topic something in which you could be (or already are) an authority? - If you can create great resources for your topic area and become authoritative, that will get you more readers and help you do better in search.
- Could you write enough potential material in your subject matter to sustain a blog for several years? - If this is going to be a long-term endeavour, you need to be sure that there are enough potential angles, ideas and approaches to provide rich ground for new articles.
- Is your niche clearly defined (not too narrow and not too broad)? - The ideal subject is broad enough to give you freedom and flexibility to write, while being narrow enough that you can establish a presence as a blogging authority. It can be difficult to find that 'sweet spot', but it will be worth it.
Define What You Don't Do
This is as important as defining your niche, but why would you want to think about what you don't do? There are several reasons:
- You want to stay focused on your subject and not waste resources and time writing about semi-related topics; a sharply focussed blog means a more defined audience, more page views and more revenue.
- You probably don't want to cover areas that are already very well served by other blogs as it will be difficult to establish a credible voice.
- There may be related topics where you aren't an expert or don't have the time to learn.
- Make sure that the limited time you do have to spend on your blog is on a subject where you can really add value and create content that's informative, educational or entertaining.
Have you thought about your blogging niche?
Once you understand what your blog is and isn't going to cover, you will need to document it. Create a simple document that defines your blog and answers the questions posed in this article.
Think about the niche you are filling, the approach that you are going to take and how you are going to stand out from the crowd. Once you've started to build these foundations, you can explore where to go next with your blog.