The new year is upon us, and if you’ve been thinking about starting a blog or redefining your current one, narrowing down a niche is vital. It’s also one of the things that many beginner bloggers struggle with the most. It took me several blogs and many years of blogging to find my niche, and now that I’ve found it I couldn’t be happier. But, luckily for you, taking years to find your niche isn’t necessary if you know what to look for. With some careful strategy and planning, you can narrow down the perfect niche in 30 days.
How to know when you’ve found your niche
First of all, I should point out that I think the most important element of your niche is that you enjoy writing about it. I’m not talking about finding a niche that will bring you the most readers or be the most interesting on the internet, I’m talking about finding a niche that you are truly passionate about.
So how do you know when you’ve found your niche? In my opinion you know you’re in the right area when you are exciting to blog. When the thought of writing a new post excites you and you can’t wait to share it with your readers. When your blog is all you can think about and you keep a list of post ideas that’s always a mile long. When you start writing and get carried away and end up typing for hours without knowing it. This kind of passion usually means you’re in the right niche. BUT if you dread writing your next post, or you have to brainstorm for hours just to think of one blog idea, you might not have found it yet.
How to find your niche – Step 1
The first step to finding your niche is to make a list of everything that you enjoy. If you’re just about to start a blog, this can be anything from interests to hobbies to subjects. If you’re already a blogger, make a list of all the topics you’ve blogged about in the past, and think about things you’ve always wanted to write about that never fit into your blog. This list can be as long as you want.
Next, take that list and narrow down ten topics that you feel you could write about. For example, if you love cats, you probably wrote it on your interests list. But, if you don’t have a cat and don’t know much about them other than that they’re cute and snuggly, this might not be something that you could write about for an extended period of time.
Next, take that list of ten ideas and use it to build three potential blogs. Each blog can be centred around one idea if it’s broad enough, or maybe it is a combination of several ideas that flow together well. But, if you’re going to combine ideas, make sure they make sense together. Baking and web design might be your two favourite things in the world, but they probably don’t make much sense together as a pair. Think of it this way – would you go to the same person to design your website as you would to order your wedding cake? Probably not. You’d go to a specialist for each, and someone who does both would likely undermine their credibility. But, you might go to the same person for diet recipes and workout advice. Think about a real life scenario, and if you can think about one person working in both fields, it’s likely something that will work as a blog!
Each potential blog you create should have a name and a description. These names don’t have to be great – and they probably won’t be your final blog name – but just use them as a jumping off point. The description doesn’t have to be well worded or sound great either – just a description that makes sense and draws together the topics of your blog. If you can’t think of a name or description for your blog topic/topics, then maybe you need to rethink the fact that they go together at all.
Now, take each of those potential blogs, and write out 30 blog post ideas for each. If you can’t even get to 30, it might be something that you’re either not passionate about, or isn’t broad enough to write about. In that case you should revisit Step 3 to think of a new potential blog idea. With 30 ideas for each of the 3 potential blogs, that’s a heaping list of 90 ideas. They should be real, actionable ideas that you know you could write a post about.
Over the next 30 days, write a blog post every day. If you don’t have a blog set up yet you can start a free WordPress blog, or just write out your posts by hand if that’s what works for you. It might seem like a lot, but it’s what it takes to narrow it down. It’s better to write 30 posts in a month to find your niche rather than choosing a niche and writing 30 posts over 3 months, only to realize you chose the wrong niche.
Don’t worry about spelling errors or any of the specifics, you aren’t going to publish these posts for the public to see yet. These are just for you to write, narrowing down what niche you actually want.
Now, you might ask – one blog post per day for a month is 30 posts, but I have a list of 90 post ideas – how do I choose? Well, go through the list every day and choose the idea that inspires you the most. I do this every week with my blog – though I have tonnes of post ideas, some of them inspire me that particular day, and some don’t. You should always be writing about something that inspires you.
At the end of 30 days, you will have 30 blog posts written out. Look and see which blog most of the posts are from. If this experiment worked well, you’ll have 30 blog posts that are mostly from the same blog. And then you’ve got your answer. The truth is that you are usually more inspired by one central idea, whether you know it or not. At first I thought I wanted to be a craft blogger – and that’s what I was for a while. It took a year of posting and struggling to brainstorm ideas for me to realize that crafts weren’t really what inspired me. Now that I’ve found my niche, I never struggle to blog or come up with ideas at all.
If you’ve got 30 posts that are evenly distributed across your three blogs, maybe you continue the experiment for another month. Or maybe you just pick one idea and dive in blind, hoping you made the right choice. But the truth is that conducting this experiment and actually writing should give you an idea of what you are truly passionate about, and what really inspires you. It’s a hard decision, but taking the time to make the right one will mean that you have a blog niche you will never have to regret.
Once you choose your niche, you can also use the corresponding posts that you’ve already written on your new blog. Now spelling and the specifics are important, but these posts will be a great tool to help you start off!