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How to Blog: Choose a Niche for Your Blog [Why Niches are Important]

Posted By Darren Rowse 10th of March 2010 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

While I get many questions from bloggers asking for advice on ‘how to blog‘ perhaps one of the biggest questions a new blogger needs to ask themselves before they move on to the HOW to blog question is ‘WHAT will I blog about?’

There is no real right or wrong answer to this question as blogs come in all shapes and sizes and focus upon all manner of topics. However thinking through the question before you start a blog will help you make some of the other decisions that you’ll want to make later on in this guide (for example the domain name and the name of your blog will probably come out of this decision).

Reasons to Focus Upon a Niche with Your Blog

Choosing a niche to blog about is important for a number of reasons. These include:

1. Niche Blogs Appeal to Readers

My first blog was a personal blog with no real niche focus. It did start with a main focus upon Spirituality, but over time began to cover a large range of topics including blogging, photography, culture, politics, personal stuff that I was doing etc. The more topics I covered the less I appealed to everyone.

Sure a certain group of people were interested in Spirituality and Blogging, but less of them were into photography, even less also liked my stuff about Australian Pop Culture….. each topic narrowed the chances of me writing something that would appeal to all of my readers. I started to get complaints from them – ‘stop writing about XXXX’.

When I began to break topics out onto their own blogs my audience responded well – those who were into photography gathered around that topic, those that were into blogging gathered on that blog.

In the end this is about relevance – people seem to be drawn to niche focused blogs because they know that they’ll see content on them that focuses upon the things they are specifically interested in.

2. Niche Blogs Monetize Better

I tried to make money from my personal blog for a while but found the going really tough. At the time I mainly tried to make money from advertising and found that sponsors were simply not interested in promoting their product (which had a specific focus) to an audience who were there to read about a whole range of things.

What camera manufacturer wants to promote their latest camera on a blog about photography that also touches on spirituality, politics and what movie I saw on the weekend?

Niche blogs also tend to work better with contextual ad networks like AdSense. AdSense is getting better are providing ads that related strongly to what is on a specific page of content but I have seen instances where blogs covering lots of different topics attract ads that don’t always relate to content on a particular page.

The other thing about AdSense is that it is a system that gives advertisers the ability to target specific sites. These types of targeted campaigns can be quite profitable but they are less likely to happen if a blog covers a large range of topics, many of which don’t relate to that advertiser.

When I went niche I found monetizing with advertising a lot easier. In fact monetizing with a variety of methods seems to be easier on niche blogs. Affiliate promotions and selling your own products work better because your audience is there to get information on certain topics – so when you promote products on those topics…. they’re much more likely to buy.

3. Niche Blogs Do Better in Search Engines

It is possible to rank well for all kinds of topics on a generic/multi topic blog. It’s possible – but I find it is easier when you have a blog with a focus upon a niche topic. If your whole site is about the one topic Google treats it as more of an authority on that topic the more content you add, the more you interlink the posts, the more other sites in your niche link to it etc.

There are certainly exceptions (mega sites like Wikipedia are obvious ones) but unless you have the pulling power of a massive site like that a niche focused site could be the way to go.

4. Niche Blogs Build Credibility and Profile

One of the consequences of moving to more of a niche focus with my blogging was that I noticed I was starting to become known for that topic.

The first time this happened was after I started my first photography blog and 2 months later had a phone call from a city-wide newspaper asking for a quote on a photography related story. This had not happened to me before as a result of my personal/multi topic blog but having a site purely focused upon a single topic gave a perception that that topic was ‘my thing’.

For me having niche focuses has helped me to become known on different topics – which has led to all kinds of opportunities in those niches – including writing books, speaking opportunities around the world, main stream media appearances and all manner of partnership opportunities with wonderful people in my industries.

Not everyone wants to build their profile and become known in an industry – but if that’s part of your goal then a niche blog on those topics can be powerful.

Note: Niches Need Not Just be Topic Related

Before I conclude this post on niches I thought it might also be worth noting that a blogs niche need not only ever be focused upon a topic. I explored this more fully in a post titled – Does Your Blog Focus Upon a Niche Topic or a Niche Demographic? As the title of that post suggests – there are some successful blogs around that cover a variety of topics – that appeal to a similar type of person or demographic.

So instead of just writing about video games – a blog might choose to blog about topics that appeal to teenage boys – video games being one of the topics that they might have an interest in.

Worth noting though is that if you do decide to target a niche demographic rather than a niche topic – you could be opening yourself up for a lot of work. Covering a diverse range of topics can certainly work – but to cover them all comprehensively can take a lot of time and energy.

How to Choose a Niche for Your Blog

Now that we’ve looked at some of the reasons WHY a niche can be a powerful thing to think about before you start looking at HOW to blog – later this week I’m going to continue this post with a followup post exploring a number of factors that those looking to start a blog might consider when choosing a niche.

Update: here’s that post – How to Blog: How to Choose a Blog Niche

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  1. Niche blogs definitely monetize better, my broad niche site (blog tips) is harder to monetize than my narrower niche sites.

  2. An excellent read and I ABSOLUTELY AGREE!

    By hobby, I am a graphic and web designer, but by profession, I am a marketer and advertiser. On my blog, I have tried and tried to help other designers understand the importance of finding your niche in the marketplace.

    I’ve even written some fairly popular articles about finding your niche. Perhaps they can help someone?

    Anyway, I just read “The Long Tail” by Chris Anderson where he basically teaches that the future of success in business is in the niche. You won’t be able to market to a mass audience effectively in the future.

    This post was spot on! Thanks.

  3. While I think finding a niche is important and it can help simplify the way you drive straffic to your site, I also think that simply being yourself is an amazing method when it comes to differentiating yourself from the rest of the pack.

    So many of us compare ourselves to other bloggers. Other people who are already so successful. This really is such a bad approach and it can have such an impact on us as individuals. I think one of the key’s to being a successful blogger is simply looking deep into yourself and finding YOU. Being yourself is enough to make the difference.

    Nice post though! I really did dig it and you do raise some good points. Having a niche helps a bucket load if you can find one that isn’t utterly saturated with content. If it is, just be yourself. Thats my advice.


  4. Choosing a right niche is really very important. As for me, I couldn’t go on blogging if I’d chosen other topics to blog about.

    Thanks for useful post!

  5. I have started a niche blog on sports team fundraising. There are very few, if any online communities or blogs specifically about this subject related to fundraising. The problem I find though because it is so niche, I am having trouble finding readers interested in the subject. What are some suggestions on finding and marketing your niche blog to potential readers?

    • Adam – part of the topic of ‘how to choose a niche’ which I’ll be posting later in the week covers some factors to consider when choosing – including how big the niche is. It sounds like you’ve gone with something pretty narrow. Narrow can still work but you’ll have to work hard at finding out where your potential readers are already gathering to get them all rather than just a small % like someone who has a big niche with lots of potential audience. Being the big fish in a small pond can work well but it’s hard work!

  6. Yes, I was doing personal blogging mixed with all topics I could think of for few years

    in Feb 2009, one year ago I started my niche blog after one year, I have 20k + unique visitors per month and I discovered today that I have pagerank 5 !!!


  7. Great post! I particularly liked your idea about niche demographics and exploring topics that appeal to certain groups of people and not just about certain things. That is a really smart way to see “choosing a topic” differently.

    I talk extensively in the e-course that I have developed about how to choose a topic and the science of choosing a topic.

    I would say that the Google Keyword Tool is a great way of establishing whether your niche is perhaps too niche because you get an idea of the search volumes and therefore a rough idea of the number of people interested in your subject matter.

    As you say (and I can only agree with you on this) niche blogs monetise far better than blogs that lack focus!

  8. I think choose a right niche related to our hobby, passion. It is not easy to choose the niche in the first time. Maybe we have to try some topics, to test…

    The right niche decides success or failure if we blogging to make money online.
    Thank for a nice post!!!

  9. Respectfully, while your arguments are all valid and reasonable, the basic premise of this post is flawed.

    By all means, I agree with you that one should answer “what will I blog about” before asking “how.” However, one should not “choose” a niche for their blog, instead they should happen upon it naturally.

    “Niche blogs appeal to readers.” Yes, this is true, but a good niche blog is not started with readers in mind. Readers are essential to a blog’s survival, but in the beginning one’s passion for their chosen niche should be a more significant driving force.

    “Niche blogs monetize better.” A niche blog should not be started with monetization being a high priority. While it is possible such a blog could be successful or even profitable, it won’t necessarily be a good blog. Niche blogs should primarily be about furthering one’s interest in the niche and provide interesting content for the readership.

    “Niche blogs do better in search engines.” Again, this may be true, but it is not appropriate as a top-four reason to choose a niche to blog about. Although… it is something to consider when answering “what should I not blog about.”

    “Niche blogs build credibility and profile.” Yes, bit NOT if you “chose” that niche.

    I suppose I could be misinterpreting the premise of this post, but as I understand it, your advice is aimed at those who know they want to blog but just don’t know what they should blog about. I maintain that it is best to know what you want to blog about before you even know that you want to blog.

    To sum it up, my argument is that it is best to blog to further one’s interest and activity in the niche, and poor judgement to find a niche to further one’s interest in blogging.

    It is just plain backwards to choose a niche for readership, monetization, search engine results, or credibility & profile.

    • ToolGuyd – I think your argument has some truth to it but it’s perhaps a bit of a purist view of things. Yes it is great when a niche chooses you because it’s just a natural fit with what you are passionate about – but many times the things we’re passionate about are simply not going to work on a blog if you’re looking for that blog to reach a certain level of success and profit.

      As you’ll see in my next post on this series – I do argue that one factor in choosing a niche is to look at your own interests/passions etc – but there are other factors to consider as you shape your niche – particularly if you have the goal of one day making money from that niche.

      Passion is great but people do start successful blogs with other motivations and strategies – I know my Photography blog was a blog that I started because I had an interest in the topic – however I’d not say that I was passionate about it. I wanted to start a blog in something I was interested in but I’d be lying if I didn’t also say that it was partly something that I started with the hope of making money, because I knew there was demand for it, because I saw potential for a sizeable readership/reach and because I thought it was a space I could build some authority in etc. I guess I’d say that I agree with your arguments but am also open to other ways.

  10. Hi Darren,

    Thanks for the post, but now the 2 big Qs:

    1. How do I know if my blog is a niche blog?

    2. How do I know I chose the right niche? one that can have enough traffic?

    I’ve made my choices but am wondering if I made the right ones.


    Ami | REAL-TIME Blogging Report

  11. Maybe a follow-up to this post should be called “Blog for the Niche, Don’t Niche for the Blog.”

    Unless of course you don’t agree with this, in which case I will lose all respect for you as a blogging authority.

  12. Of course niche blogs are better. No one topic can possibly appeal to everyone. Choosing a niche is critical to your blog’s success. You can’t be found on the search engines without a focus. I suspect all of us who blog about blogging have written articles on the subject, or if not whole articles, at least mentioned the importance of choosing a niche within an article.

  13. Of course niche blogs are better. No one topic can possibly appeal to everyone. Choosing a niche is critical to your blog’s success. You can’t be found on the search engines without a focus. I suspect all of us who blog about blogging have written articles on the subject, or if not whole articles, at least mentioned the importance of choosing a niche within an article. I know I have. Have you?

  14. Well said Darren .. it is true that niche blogging is well paid . I have been blogging in the niche of alternative health especially Ayurveda and Yoga for a while and seen the result.
    But one factor that has governed the success if my devotion so not just finding a proper niche is important , but devotion and patience is must in that area.
    Eat, drink and live your niche when one blog that is how is summarize.

  15. Thank you for that very informative post. My blog is a personal blog ranging from nostalgic events in my life to my thoughts on day to day happenings in the world.

    I’ve not had any recent followers in the last few months so I’m wondering how I can attract more people. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks and Cheers.

  16. I agree with everything you’re saying … but still make the intentional choice to make my site non-niche. I pitch my site as more of a web newspaper or magazine (think USA Today or New Yorker – not that we’re at their level, but that we strive toward that sort of diversity of content).

    Mostly, I did this because it’s more fun for me this way. We have about a dozen writers on board, and we write about these topics (just a sample and not an all-inclusive list):

    Sports (a dedicated sports writer, plus I also write a lot about baseball)

    Politics (we have 2 conservative writers, 2 liberal writers, and a middle east writer)

    Science and Nature


    Has the lack of a core nich focus slowed the growth of readership? Certainly. Has it cause the site to rank lower in search engines? Probably. But, at the end of the day, I’m publishing content I like, in the manner I want to publish it. Success means different things to different people. Doing what I enjoy, even to a relatively small audience, is my definition of success.

    • Kosmo – more power to you. It is certainly possible to go very wide and cover multiple niche topics in the one site – however it’s a lot of work. You’ve tackled this with a lot of authors and a lot of work, however most readers here are single person operations blogging in the hours after work who I think would do better to choose something a little narrower :-)

      There’s certainly no one approach to this though – wide can be great if you get it right!

  17. Darren,

    My blog is an art blog, but the art I talk about and post is my own. Would it work better if the type of art I posted was narrowed down a “niche/subject” of art? ie: tree art, figure drawings, etc?


  18. I think it depends on what you want to get from the blog. If it’s just a place to get out your thoughts on life that maybe your friends will read, being all over the place is fine. But niche blogs are certainly easier to monetize and gain an audience for. Most of us want an audience, at the very least. By going the niche route, you also have to be very passionate about your topic so that you can stand to write about it consistently. Not surprisingly, people who are passionate about their topic often write more interesting posts, which also helps to increase readership.

    • Jackie – completely agree. It partly comes down to motivations. If you’re blogging to put thoughts out there, for personal motivations, for self expression etc – then blog on any topic you want. I guess I was writing this more for people who want to make a living blogging (that being my niche :-)) – but certainly, if you’re blogging for other motivations – don’t stress too much about niches (although most personal bloggers tend to have a niche or two that they focus upon mainly).

  19. Niche blogs not only monetize better, but also help provide you with a daily focus.

    You can too easily get thrown off track by having too broad of a niche.

    The best way that I’ve found in proceeding with building a blog and audience/following is by listening to Darren’s advice about setting a schedule AND having at least 100 article topics lined up, researched etc. before you even launch your blog.

  20. This was a very fine article about niche blogging, but the thing that struck me immediately and most dramatically about it is what a masterful example of on-page SEO it is.

    Especially the first paragraph, where you use important keywords in great “how to” phrases, in quotes, highlighted – and you make it perfectly readable and attention grabbing for real people too.

    Bravo. Kudos.

  21. Offline, small brick-and-mortar downtown stores tend to specialize according to niche, although in rural areas a general store may carry a wide variety … with little or no competition because of isolation. Department stores may also carry a wide selection, but their departments are more like a collection of niche stores. And some departments and some small businesses are more profitable than others.

    Parallels with the online world are transparent. Some keywords and sets of keywords are more profitable than others. Blogs built around the profitable keywords will make more profit.

    Well, I am speaking generally of profit. Competition for those keywords, frequency of searches, and the percentages of searchers to buyers all play a role. Someone searching for “baby toys” is more likely to want to buy than someone searching for “year of George Washington’s birth.”

    As to one’s passion for a niche, at some point it may be better to write in a less profitable niche about which one has passion than a more profitable niche toward which one is apathetic (or hates)–but such trade offs in profession are common offline, one way or another.

    The suggestion of targeting a particular demographic is one I had not read or considered before, at least not consciously. One wonders if commenter Kosmo’s news-related site (comment above) succeeds to the extent it does because it appeals substantially to some relatively narrow demographic. A demographic into which the blogger may fit.

    Lastly, I remember a small five-and-dime store that lasted for years (and maybe still is in existence) because it had something for everybody–a kind of mini Wall Mart–and some unusual and appealing items. And a loyal clientele base probably built up from a time when there were fewer alternative places to shop locally.

    Is there a lesson here?

  22. I also think niches and blogs evolve over time… so while your blog may start out in one niche, over time it may overlap into another niche

  23. The question I have been battling with is if my niche is narrow enough. I have a political blog, geared toward young liberals. I have received a decent amount of traffic relative to its time in existence but I am not sure if I am getting a loyal enough readership. Would really like to hear some feedback from some more experienced bloggers!

  24. On another note, why is there no comment reply function? That has always bothered me.

  25. While toolguyd has some good points, I think most people that come to this site are interested in making money. This article is telling you about niche sites as it relates to the goal of making money. Niche sites are more likely to be successful in that way.

  26. I think one of the nice points you made was that just because you chose a particular niche it doesn’t mean you are limited to that niche. Given the blogs I read I realize that it’s easy to get blogger tunnel vision. I mainly read social media, blogging, and personal development blogs. Then I realize that there is a whole world outside of that little group of blogs that I know well where people are making money and rocking it.

  27. I’m not sure, but I think my blog is not a niche blog. Would anyone be willing to give me their opinion on that? I write on a variety of topics, but it is all focused towards moms who value their family as a ministry. Would that be a niche? Just wondering! I’m thinking a niche would be to take one of my categories, like workboxes, and write solely about that.

    I don’t think I’d want to do that, though :)

    • Angela – I think you’d probably fall more into the category of having a niche demographic rather than a niche topic (as I talked about towards the end of the article). This can certainly work but instead of focusing upon just a topic you’re writing for a type of person.

  28. Great post, well targeted niche market is the key to success, not just in blogging business but the entire internet marketing business as a whole

    Somebody mentioned lining up your topics, researching them before choosing your area of concentration for your blog and I think it’s a great idea

  29. Thanks Darren.

    A Question if I might: How do you control the niche of your blog over time? I mean what if your blog evolves into something it was not when it started? Technology, for instance, evolves all the time.

    Thanks for another awesome post.

    • Dave Higgs – a niche can certainly evolve. In fact one thing worth keeping in mind as you’re choosing a niche is to think about something that you might widen later. For example on my photography site it started purely as a something for beginner camera owners but after a year or two I began to expand the topics to cover reviews of gear and post production (photoshop etc). I always wanted to do this so chose a domain and site name that would accomodate something that was both narrow but also which could be expanded (rather than naming it ‘photography tips for beginners’ I went for ‘Digital Photography School’).

      Sometimes you can be a little trapped by a domain name in changing focus but many times it’s completely appropriate to let your niche grow and evolve a little.

  30. It’s hard to show you’re authority over a broad range of niches, so it helps to focus on smaller niched blogs to build that trust and level of expertise within your industry.

  31. I think it boils down the WHY to … it helps you STAND OUT.

    When you stand out … it’s sticky … you become a lightening rod of relevancy and people flock together around values and focus.

    > appeal to a similar type of person or demographic
    Beautiful point and key distinction!

  32. In a word: YES!

    I have been a comedy blogger for years and attempted to start several “general purpose” humor blogs. The few who did read my blogs gave me a great response. But I just wasn’t able to get a strong following.

    Then I became a father and began writing about the comedy of being a dad. Suddenly people are much more interested. In 6 months I have over 400 followers through tumblr and get 100-200 visitors a day. Not much compared to big blogs like this, but it is steadily growing.

    • that’s a great example Nate – you went from general humor which is great but is a little less relateable to something that might have less broad appeal but which suddenly becomes relevant to a segment of people (like me). I immediately pricked up my ears when you talked about being a dad – but if you’d said you wrote a humor blog I probably wouldn’t have taken note.

  33. website without keyword research is lost your time.but there are times that is very dificult to find a niche with a lot of searches and a few competence.And don’t forget sub niches that for blogs are super.

  34. An interesting explanation. Choosing a niche is a good first step. And then I think there are many other steps that must be done to blogs, especially related to monetize and search engines. Thanks

  35. niche blogs really does very good, in terms of affiliate income they does very good.

  36. Another important aspect of niche blogs (or niching in general) is relationship. It is difficult to cultivate trust and a meaningful relationship with readers when your content covers too many topics. The more deeply you can delve into your niche, the more value you bring to your readers, the greater your expertise, and the richer the relationship over time.

    • Molly – agreed – relationship often comes out of shared experience/interest. Finding someone else who is into what you’re into is always a refreshing thing.

  37. I took a general topic, hockey, cut it down to a specific league, Ontario Hockey League, cut it down further to just OHL alumni, and even further to only alumni that are still active in the sport professionally.

    It is a very specific niche but yet is not too narrow and is quite flexible and will not leave me drained of content at any time.

    The project is only in its 3rd month but the search engine rankings have been good right from the start.

  38. Darren… You are absolutely right about niche blogging…

    The one thing I’d like to add is not to paint yourself into a corner with a niche that’s too narrow…

  39. Having a niche certainly helps to cut down on the waste some blogs have. It also helps to keep the blogger more focused.

    Great post!

  40. My first blog is good example of why non niche blogs do not work as you want.

    Readers easily get lost as every day you see a different type of post. So less followers. Less comments. They will not stay long enough to check out the products and services that I have.

    There is no good reason why they should visit my blog again. Because they cannot see I am blogging on one topic that interested them.

    I think niche blogging is really important for a long and successful blog.

  41. I own several niche blogs about Microstock and Stock Photography in German and they are total niche. Its easier to monetize the Blog but its also much more harder to get advertiser and more readers. Especially if you only write in german, there is only a limited reader area.
    Any ideas on that?

  42. I completely agree. All about knowing your audience. I help manage my employer’s blog and the firm we work with is forever reminding us to stay focused on our audience (architects, developers, engineers, banks) when coming up with new ideas for blog posts. We are also reminded of the importance of staying focused on our theme (niche)… “developing value beyond the build”. The beauty in this, of course, is that allows for some flexibility to write about topics that do not relate directly to our industry but that relate to valuable insights for small business.

    Thanks for what you are doing. Always reading and learning.

  43. Most people dont choose on keyword but that is probably the smartest thing you could do. The reason i say that is because i choose gaming and i was brining in 200 visitors a day and making .10 cents a day.

    Money over Fun people!

  44. Too many blogs try to cover too wide a range of topics, you make a good case for keeping things niched

  45. Niche specific blog attracts more readers compared to blogs that pertaining to any topic in general.One good thing also with Niche blogging is you’ll be able to meet people with the same thing in mind.

  46. I definitely agree with your points here Darren. I, like you, started out as just a personal family story blog, and I did not really have a focus at all. Nor did I realize I would become a professional blogger.

    I definitely feel like I have developed a Niche Demographic for moms, mostly Christian, with young children (nb-early teen). I am so glad you made the distinction between Niche topic and Niche Demographic- that makes it “click” for me. I have consciously tried to transition to more of a “magazine” feel with lots more useful information, and less plain stories, although I throw in a family story or an old High School picture here and there. It’s definitely driven by my personality, and humor is a big part of it.

    This format is lot easier to merge with affiliate marketing and sponsors. So even if you don’t start out with a niche focus, it’s not too late to steer your blog there. Do you agree?

  47. I write in specific niches on one site and don’t know if that’s wise and may change but it is quite interesting with the variety of readers we get to interact with, least those that leave comments, lol. Good points to keep in mind. :)

  48. Ahh… man, I struggle with this. I’m back to square one: trying to figure out how to develop a niche that I won’t get bored writing about, and that I’ll personally identify with, long into the future, while still being able to offer a unique perspective in the crowded blogging space. Writing about a specific topic makes sense and I generally agree with the points in this post. But as a creative person who likes to learn new things, I’m equally passionate about a wide array of creative topics and I like to share with others tips on whatever it is I’m discovering at the time… be it writing, music production, filmmaking, coding, etc. It’s what comes natural. I like to think of my current niche as targeting creative young professionals – however, this feels like a very broad market. I’m not certain this “niche” is narrowly defined enough to monetize later, even with lots of traffic.

  49. The main challenge with niche blogging is picking something you can really write about day after day for years, not just months. it can be a real challenge with you find that you’ve run out of new things to say. it helps if you blog about a topic that continually generates news you can discuss.

  50. Wow Darren, this really has been a pertinent (lightning rod) topic to write about.

    I am on your Problogger forum, and you will be pleased to hear that I am officially launching The “Zero To A Hundred K in 30 Days” Blueprint on the 1st May, 2010.

    This Blueprint will show wannabee and existing LawnMowing and Gardening contractors how they build their $100,000 a year business in 30 Days. I am soo excited about this.

    I hope you don’t mind me telling you about this, but I am really excited because this is a GREAT Example of a NICHE service that will benefit from the Blog media platform and will also run as a Membership site – club for contractors.

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