The first thing you need to do before you begin your journey is to find a niche idea for your blog.
Personally I find this to be the most exciting and enjoyable step. The following steps assume that you want to profit from your site, but most of the advice could also be used if you are doing this as a hobby.
If you are a one man/woman operation, the first thing you will want to do is realize the Internet has changed quite a bit from the early days of the web, so it’s a lot harder for one person to run more than one blog. With that in mind, try to limit yourself to one or two simultaneous blogs.
For beginners, I recommend doing no more than one until you get the hang of things.
So, you will brainstorm as many blog ideas as you can, weed out the bad ones and make a final decision based on several criteria.
If all goes well you will have the perfect niche idea that matches your personality, passions, hobbies, interests, problems, etc.
Ready to begin? Let’s go!
Step 1: Brainstorm Your Hobbies, Interests, Passions & Problems
Grab a pen and a notebook, or create a new document on your computer. You may have best results if you can go somewhere away from typical distractions such as a coffee shop or library.
Think back on your entire life and write down anything that comes to mind that you have been interested in. Go back to your childhood if necessary.
What were you interested in? What hobbies did you have? What were you obsessed with? What problems or challenges did you face/overcome? What did you want to do but never got around to doing?
Take inventory of your current life status. What areas of your life would you like to improve? Are there any major problems you are struggling with? Is there a hobby you have always wanted to pursue? Do people regularly ask you questions around a specific topic?
If your mind is blank, you may simply need a few triggers to help you.
Browse magazines on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/magazines – each magazine represents a potential niche site idea. Is there a magazine that could be narrowed down even more, yet still have a large audience? Click a subcategory on the left side of the Amazon Magazines page to refine by category or country.
If someone took the time and trouble to create a magazine, there’s a good chance it is around a proven audience so may be worth pursuing.
Browse the List of Hobbies on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hobbies
This isn’t a complete list, but it’s big enough to get started with. 🙂
Take Inventory of Your Problems: If you’re still stuck, think about some of the major problems you have overcome in your life. What problems do you current need to overcome? A past or present problem can be very valuable to anyone else in the world going through the same thing. Everyone wants to be out of the problem as quickly as possible so they can go back to living.
If you are currently experiencing adversity, turn those lemons into lemonade instead of letting it eat you alive. Blog about it as you overcome it. Examples include weight loss, getting in shape, getting out of debt, increasing your income, raising kids, saving money, fixing a car, pet problems (such as fleas), relationships and more.
Internet Communities: This is probably the easiest way to find a viable audience. Simply look for existing communities, forums and groups on a topic you are considering. Take a look at how many people are in the groups to gauge if it is worthwhile or not. Take a look at recent activity. Are there posts/comments every day? The bigger and more active the group the better. Look for forums by searching on Google for the word “forum” plus whatever keyword you are interested in. Search for groups on Facebook. Finally, see if a “subreddit” already exists on the popular site Reddit.com.
So, keep writing ideas down until you have a hundred or feel satisfied that you have maxed out on ideas. Next we’ll start eliminating weak ideas and make a revised list of your best ones.
Step 2: Pick Your Favorite Ideas from your List
The next step is to prune your main list of ideas down to your top 10 niche ideas. The easiest way to do this is to run each one through a series of filters. If you don’t think a specific idea passes the necessary criteria, move that idea to the bottom (if you want to save it for the future), or simply delete it.
To help you find the best ideas that have the strongest chance for success, run each one through the following criteria:
1 – Is your idea seasonal or year around? A seasonal idea can bring a big burst of traffic for a short time during the year (Halloween is a good example). But once that season is over, your traffic will go down as well. I recommend eliminating ideas that are seasonal and try to pick one that is year around instead. Examples of year around topics include finance, weight loss, pets, gaming, cooking, recipes, DIY, etc. You can use Google Trends to help determine the seasonality of your niche.
2 – What is your gut feeling? Does the idea make you excited? Or does it leave a sinking feeling in your gut? Eliminate any idea that makes you want to fall asleep and keep ideas that energize you. Pick topics that excite you and make you want to take action.
3 – Could you write about the topic off the top of your head? The absolute best ideas are ones that you could write off the top of your head with little or no research. This blog that I am building right now is such a topic. It is likely I will be able to write the entire course without research. These topics are great because you can write articles quickly and effortlessly. An added bonus is your writing will likely have a more natural feel to it.
You do not need to eliminate ideas that would require more time and research. A great blog technique is to write about something as you grow from being a total novice to expert. All I want to say is if you are under time constraints (such as staying home with the kids), you may want to pick an idea you could write about off the top of your head.
4 – How big is the audience? Search around for competing blogs, Facebook groups, Reddit, etc. to get an idea if there is a big enough audience for your idea. A really easy way to do this is find the top few websites from a Google search and run it through Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest. Search for competing domains to get an estimate of monthly traffic and decide from there.
5 – Are there existing products/service to sell in your niche? Search around again and see if ads show up in the various search engines. Look on some of the top websites and check to see if ads show up on those sites. Are there products that you could sell from Amazon? The more advertisers you find, the better your niche. If you can’t find products/services your not completely out of luck. As long as the audience is big you may be able to sell your own products or an infoproduct.
6 – Does your idea kill two birds with one stone? As mentioned earlier, some of the best blog topics are ones that help you solve an existing problem. An example would be if your home is in need of many repairs, you can blog about it as you repair your house. When you have finished fixing up your house, you could end up with a profitable blog rewarding you with a monthly passive income for years to come.
7 – Does it pass the Steve Jobs test? – One of my favorite quotes comes from Steve Jobs when he was asked why he started Apple Computers. He responded by saying “We Make What We Want for Ourselves.” The best ideas have this characteristic. They usually make you want to take action immediately.
8 – Can you monetize it? If you are building a site you hope to make money from, take some time to brainstorm how you plan to monetize it. If there is an existing #1 site in the niche, how are they monetizing their site? Ideas include – advertising, promoting products/services through affiliate offers, selling products/services/information directly.
Step 3: Make a Final Decision
By the time you get to this step you should have around 10 to 20 finalists on your idea list. Now it’s time to narrow it down to your #1 top idea.
It is very likely all of the ideas on this list could work just fine, so at this point its simply a matter of going with your gut and picking out the one that energizes you the most.
So, if there are any ideas you feel “blah” about, go ahead and cross them out.
Do not be discouraged if your niche idea appears to be saturated. All this means is that the topic has proven itself to be a success. The first person to come up with an idea is not always the one to make the most money. MySpace came before Facebook, but Facebook has made billions compared to MySpace millions.
Once you get down to your top 5 ideas, take a few minutes and brainstorm specific article ideas for that topic. Ideally, you’ll want to have 50 or more potential article topics. If you struggle with this step, you may want to broaden the topic or simply cross that idea off the list.
Depending on your situation in life, you may be able to run a few blogs at the same time – but I don’t recommend this unless you are young and single with no kids and plenty of spare time. Another situation that could work is if you are married without kids. It really all depends on how much free time you have. As a rule of thumb a married couple raising kids should focus on one blog per adult… for a maximum of two blogs total.
One other tip before I go. You can test an idea out on another platform to see how well it performs before investing a bunch of time building up a WordPress blog. You can set up a YouTube channel or a Facebook group. You can also start your own subreddit or a Twitter account. If you can start growing on another platform, work on that for awhile and expand to a blog later. Just make sure you grab the domain name before anyone else does.
By following the above steps you should end up with 5 to 10 really good blog topics to choose from.
Once you get to that point you can simply pick the one that stands out the most, excites you and has highest profit potential.
When you make your final decision, then you can move to the next step – finding the perfect domain name for your blog.