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Principles of Choosing a Profitable Blog Topic

I recently had a conversation with a reader about selecting the right topic for a profitable blog. In this discussion, I realized that finding a balance among various factors is crucial. Let’s explore these essential principles for choosing a profitable blog topic.

Topic Popularity

One important factor in the success of any profitable blog is that it will need to find readers. I could probably build a blog that would dominate the niche for ‘green striped paper bags’ and get 100% of those searching for the term on Google (there is no competition) however the fact of the matter is that I’d probably be my only reader. It’s important to choose a topic that meets a demand for information. It need not be on a topic that absolutely everyone is searching for information on – but the popularity of the topic is obviously one factor that could increase the chances of success.

Selecting a topic with a significant demand for information increases the likelihood of attracting readers. While it’s important to find a balance between popularity and competition, identifying niches within popular topics can be highly profitable. For example, rather than starting a broad blog about fitness, focusing on a specific niche like “keto diet for beginners” or “high-intensity interval training (HIIT)” can yield better results. These focused topics allow you to position yourself as an expert and capture a dedicated audience.

To gauge the popularity of a blog topic, keyword research tools can provide valuable insights. These tools help identify search volume, competition, and related keywords for conducting your niche analysis:

  • Google Trends: This free tool allows you to explore the popularity of specific keywords over time and in different regions. It provides data on search interest, related topics, and rising trends.
  • SEMrush: Known for its comprehensive keyword research features, SEMrush offers insights into search volume, keyword difficulty, and competitor analysis. It also suggests related keywords and provides an overview of the competitive landscape.

Topic Competition and Narrow Niches

Another way of increasing the chances of profit is to choose a topic which currently has few quality sources of information already existing online. You may think that no such topic exists – but you’d be wrong. Whilst the web is a crowded place there are many topics where there is little competition and as a result you have the ability to be one of the biggest fish in that small pond. Sometimes you have to narrow your topic to find such niches, other times you have to be ‘the first’ as a new topic emerges and other times there might be existing sites on the topic – but they are of a low enough standard that you can compete easily by producing something better or more useful. Finding a niche with limited competition can provide opportunities for significant growth and profitability. Here are a couple of examples:

  1. “Indoor Urban Gardening Tips”: With the rise in urban living, many people are interested in growing plants indoors. By focusing on providing valuable content and advice on indoor urban gardening techniques, tools, and plant care, you can establish yourself as an authority in this niche. Monetization options can include affiliate partnerships with gardening equipment suppliers or creating your own line of indoor gardening products.
  2. “Sustainable Fashion for Men”: As sustainability becomes a global concern, the demand for eco-friendly fashion is rising. By catering specifically to men and providing content on sustainable clothing brands, styling tips, and ethical fashion practices, you can tap into a growing market. Revenue streams can include affiliate marketing with sustainable fashion brands and collaborations with eco-conscious clothing companies.
  3. My narrowest niche blog is one that I run on UAV’s or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Now it’s not my most profitable blog by far – and when I started it ten years ago there weren’t as many people searching on the topic and I was able to get a fairly large % of those searching for my keywords because I ranked so highly on Google for them. These days this topic is a lot more competitive but it’s an example of what you can do over time if you’re willing to carve out a niche for yourself.

Here are some additional niche analysis tools to help you identify untapped markets:

  • Ubersuggest: offers keyword suggestions and competition analysis. It provides information on search volume, difficulty, and related keywords, helping you discover specific niches with lower competition.
  • Ahrefs: a powerful SEO tool that enables you to analyze competitors, discover low-competition keywords, and explore niche opportunities. It also offers content gap analysis, helping you identify areas where your competitors are lacking.

Availability of Revenue Streams

Ok so you’ve found a topic people search for and you don’t have much competition – but you’ll never turn a profit on it if you don’t find an income stream for it. Contextual advertising programs like Adsense offer varying click values for different topics. Ideally, you’d want to choose a high-paying topic, but you might discover intense competition within those niches. It can be worthwhile to explore medium-level click values with less competition. Remember, Adsense is not the only revenue stream for bloggers. Explore available affiliate programs relevant to your topic and consider opportunities for sponsorships from private advertising sources.

Identifying topics with potential revenue streams is essential for long-term profitability. Here are two recent examples:

  1. “Smart Home Automation”: With the increasing popularity of smart home devices, blogging about smart home automation can be lucrative. Monetization options include affiliate partnerships with smart home product manufacturers, sponsored content from companies in the home automation industry, and creating digital products such as e-books or online courses on setting up smart homes.
  2. “Digital Nomad Lifestyle”: As remote work and location independence gain traction, the digital nomad lifestyle has become a popular topic. Bloggers in this niche can generate revenue through affiliate marketing of travel gear, sponsored content from travel agencies or co-working spaces, and offering coaching or consulting services for aspiring digital nomads.

Researching “your topic affiliate programs” on search engines and exploring Amazon’s affiliate program can be excellent starting points. Here are a few examples of tools to assist you in assessing your blog affiliate revenue potential:

  • Amazon Associates: Amazon’s affiliate program, known as Amazon Associates, allows you to earn commissions by promoting products relevant to your blog’s niche. With a vast range of products, it can be a valuable income source for bloggers.
  • ShareASale: an affiliate marketing network that connects bloggers with various merchants and brands. It offers a wide range of affiliate programs across different niches, allowing you to find relevant partners for your blog.

If you are going to use Adsense you ideally want a high paying topic. Unfortunately whilst you might identify one you may just find that your competition is incredibly high. Sometimes it is worth picking a topic that is in the medium level of click values and has less competition.

Availability of Content

You’ll want to do a little research on your topic before starting a blog to see if you’ll be able to sustain it in adding fresh content over a long period. The thing that kills many commercial blogs very quickly is that the author simply runs out of things to write. I’ve started numerous blogs over the past couple of years that I quickly found I had nothing much to say about.

Ensuring a steady stream of content is crucial for maintaining engagement and attracting readers. Here’s an example:

  • “Plant-Based Recipes for Families”: As more people embrace plant-based diets, there’s a demand for family-friendly plant-based recipes. By curating and creating delicious, kid-friendly plant-based recipes, you can cater to this audience. Content can include meal planning tips, nutritional information, and creative plant-based alternatives for popular family meals. Regularly sharing new recipes and engaging with the audience can help build a loyal readership.

If you’re wanting to test the availability of content keyword research tools can help identify popular topics and generate content ideas. Here are two tools to assist you:

  • BuzzSumo: allows you to discover popular content in your niche by analyzing social media shares and engagement. It helps you identify trending topics and create content that resonates with your audience.
  • AnswerThePublic: This tool generates a visual representation of questions and phrases related to your chosen keyword. It can inspire content ideas by revealing what people are searching for and what information they seek.

Measure your own Energy, Passion and Interest

Lastly (and very importantly) it’s worth trying to objectively measure your own passion, interest or energy level for the blog. Whilst there might be plenty of news going around on the topic will you still be energized by posting on the topic in 6 months time (without the motivation of money – because it might take take a year or two to establish yourself in a niche). If you don’t have something motivating you to post on a topic it can become very difficult to keep doing so – unless you have a very dedicated personality type.

Put it all together

The fact is that you’ll rarely find a topic that all these factors come together on unless you’re either very lucky or the first in a popular new niche that you just happen to have a passion for. Most blogs fall down in one (or more) of these areas. This does not mean it can’t be a viable and profitable blog, but it’s good to be aware of the weaknesses as you venture out. The beauty of blogging is that there are no rules – and some of my most successful experiments have flown in the face of most of the above principles.

For example (just to disprove myself and give a little hope to you rebellious types) – arguably the most successful blog I’ve ever been involved with (over a short period of time) was the Athens Olympics Blog that I ran with a mate which generated 2 million visitors in a few weeks and made us a tidy sum of money.

This blog succeeded despite having massive competition (from every major news website going around) and despite having very low click value on Adsense and few lucrative affiliate programs. The sheer weight of people searching for information over a short period of time was the main ingredient to our success. This was coupled with us working incredibly long hours (around the clock for two weeks and for months before) providing a blog that was actually quite useful. We actually became known as a site that updated statistics and information faster than most of the ‘professional’ sites covering the event.

Despite being dormant (and falling into disrepair lately) it still even gets reasonable visitor levels to this day.

So take these principles as friendly advice – not rules. In many ways they are ‘ideals’ which you will almost certainly have to compromise some of at some point but which can help you choose a topic that has a greater chance of success.

Add your own suggestions and experiences in choosing a blog’s topic below in comments12.

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 and LinkedIn.
  1. If people already have a passion about a subject then start writing about this and over time as you ‘sharpen up’ you soon see other posible subjects you could start covering. It is vital that you keep tightly focussed, start another blog instead of spreading yourself across too many subjects.
    And just as a little aside make sure you have a newsletter just like Darren has on this site. It’s a simple way of keeping in touch with people who don’t use RSS feeds.

  2. Very nice post. Thanks for the tips.

  3. […] of revenue streams Availability of content Measure your energy, passion and interest […]

  4. Thank you for the advice, appreciated.

  5. Passion first, adsense second.

    I think its easier to keep the motivation and posting/updating frequency high if you actually like the topic you are talking about. I would avoid trying to blog based on a topic that holds no interest for you, because you’ll never keep the perserverance up to get it off the ground.

    Lots of people post 2 or 3 times a day on subjects they love, and it still takes 2 to 3 years to become remotely established.

    If someone told me a blog about stamps would earn me ooodles of money, but it would take 3 years of blog positing to get to that point, I couldn;t commit to doing – purely because stamps hold little or no interest for me. Likewise, if someone said a blog about high performance russian cars would be a lucrative venture, I’d be more inclined to take it up as it involves things I’m passionate about (high performance cars, not Russians, although I’m sure I could get passionate with a few Russians if the need arose).

  6. I think that you have forgotten good Internet domain name in your considerations. For example: if your blog is about car engines and it has Internet domain name “funkyaussie.com” then it will not have much traffic…

  7. Darren, what do you think of instead making separeted blogs about google products: adSense, adWords, Earth, Maps, etc., build a unique blog about Google and we’d have these topics as categories ? I’m nb on pro-blog, but wouldn’t it be easier to have more posts daily?

    Like, instead of having a blog about printers, cameras, pdas, laptops… a simple blog about gadgets (with many categories) wouldn’t it be easier to maintain? Would this make huge difference in SEO point of view ?

  8. Finding content is exhausting, so the smaller the niche the harder it is to update every day.

    I also prefer not to copy and paste press releases, rather write about something I have read and give my own opinion. I will then reveal the source of my information. That way i have unique content. Not sure how this affects copyright, especially the AFP releases that seam quite strict.

  9. This is a great article. Most of the times when you find information like this, you always get the normal “do the keyword research” kinda thing. I feel this is rather different … Thanks for sharing … I’ll be sharing this with my subscribers.

  10. […] blogs like the one about UAV, Athens Olympic … This definitely a must-read … https://problogger.com/principle […]

  11. Those are useful tips, thanks Darren :)

    Since i’m going to open my 3rd blog soon, those tips will make a useful reminder, especially for the self-asked question “how passioned are you?”…


  12. Thanks for the comments – let me try responding to a couple of the questions/comments.

    Comic Strip Blogger – you’re right about selecting a good domain – it’s very important – but I guess that comes after you’ve already selected your topic which is what this post was about. Great tip though – totally agree.

    Kenji – good question about separate blogs or putting them all together. Obviously both approaches can work. As we know some of the biggest blogs are quite general gadget blogs (engadget and gizmodo) – however there are also some advantages to niche blogs also that break down a larger topic. I’ve found that being more specific is good for SEO on numerous levels. It also allows you to position yourself as an expert on one area which is good for credibility.

    I’ve nothing against the general blog approach but at this stage the tight niches do well for me. I guess I don’t think I can compete with the big general blogs (I’m too late to the game) so I’m carving some niche’s out for myself in their cracks.

  13. This is not really a comment, more of an aside: You may want to add an “s” to that “he” in your very first sentence, because B.L. Ochman is a woman. :-)

  14. […] our visitor numbers to pick up. Find more info at problogger.net tags: blogging, blog, adsense


  15. Great stuff Darren.

    I feel that not only is the subject matter important but so is the effort that you put into the registering of your blog with search engines and blog aggregators. A subject for a followup article.

    What always surprisies me is the popularity of a blog that makes it difficult to distinguish ads from content – but maybe that is the reason for financial success!

    And where would we be without readers. Are regular readers the reason for success or is high-ranking on google more important so you get fresh victims, sorry readers, on a regular basis.

    It’s always an pleasure to read what you have to say on these matters.

  16. Rich K says: 07/23/2005 at 12:10 am


    Is there an advantage to or a strategy that might work for creating a topic/sub-topic network of blogs….it seems to me your blog “network” features very un-related topics, which would be difficult/challenging to maintain. Is a blog/sub-topic blog network viewed by Google as a single blog? What are the implications?

    Love your work, tks.

  17. General blog or niche? I think it comes down to whether you use contextual advertising or not. If you use AdSense, it really has to be a tight niche blog or you won’t make any money at all. If, however, you don’t carry ads, then the blog is an advertisement for YOU. So it doesn’t have to be tightly defined, especially if your talents spread out a bit. At present, I’m sitting in the middle of these two approaches and, in monetary terms, it’s not working. However, I do enjoy the blogging a lot … and keeping tabs on the blogosphere. Soon, I’m going to split the two functions and see if I can grab a slice of Google gold … just for the hell of it, of course :-)

  18. […] s 

    Just as I am planning onto becoming a problogger, Darren wrote an interesting article on his blog about the principles of choosin […]

  19. Great post Darren : ) Lots to think about.

    Gizmocha asked which were more important, regular readers or those coming in via search engines. It seems to me they are BOTH important, because in my admittedly rather short experience, while searchers may be where the money is at, regular readers provide something that others don’t…incoming links! Far & away, the larget percentage of links coming into my blog are from regular readers who’ve been kind enough to write something nice about my site, or just put a link in their sidebar. Without the links, I know I wouldn’t be getting hits on search engines, so I think the two types of users are part of the same puzzle…the more of each, the better!

    BTW, it’s not much, but I’m on track to make my first $100 (US) blogging by the end of today…pretty fun ; )

  20. […] month. Later in the afternoon, I checked some RSS feeds and found out Darren posted about Principles of Choosing a Profitable Blog Topic. And […]

  21. I think I’m on same wavelength as John (Syntagma)’s comment .. My blog is the one that is supposed to advertise me and my skills (not another marketing blog). And, I would add to Dave’s comment .. “Passion first, adsense second” … that you also need a tremendous amount of time.

    If people come to visit my blog now, it looks like a personal blogsite and not a business blogsite = or worse, it doesn’t look like a personal blogsite at all – but instead looks like a really, really lousy business blog site! But, that’s because I’m taking my time building up linking resources, ‘encyclopedia’-type background content, category creation where I think I want this blog to go, and talking about me-me-me-me. I don’t want people to come read today’s news headlines from my blogs. I want them to NOTICE by blog by the news headline, then stick around and take their shoes off and surf the links inside my blog and read the old news content.

    As a 1-person consulting business, my fees will always be limited by the number of hours I myself am willing to put in each year. That is my underlying reason why I am taking my time with these blogs to build up something long-term that will be able to contribute to the bottom line eventually … and generate a passive income stream. In the short-term however, I think my ‘day-job’ business is suffering more that I was willing to allow it, while I am doing all of this blogging and research … because of the time I spent setting up two blogs. It’s hard to let go sometimes because it’s all very fascinating.


  22. […] ackup Week | Back to Blog 22.07.2005 Choosing a profitable topic Darren Rowse talks about what to go by when choosin […]

  23. Making blog money from the Pope

    I’m all in favour of people using blogs to generate some cash, even make a living, but this seems a step too far to me and this sort of stuff seems to be taking us into a whole new era of mercenary blogging. Link: � Principles of Choosing a Profitab…

  24. Your olympic blog looks messed up on my Firefox 1.0.6 browser. Everything looks fine except the middle column with all the posts are squished into a few pixels wide.

  25. […] ularity of the topic is obviously one factor that could increase the chances of success. Full Story […]

  26. Great article – I’ve found a niche with Kitsilano.ca (a beach neighourhood in Vancouver, Canada) but the dollars aren’t flowing yet. If they only was a way to get people to click on our Google Ads. ;-)

  27. What about setting up your own blog network using subdomains? I have an interest in a few niche topics, but I run out of ideas after a few weeks and need a break. My model is more in line with a site like rlrouse.com where multiple topics are covered all under the same domain name.

    I think that niches are good for adsense and for the people who are really dedicated, but most people probably will need to cover multiple topics to maintain a successful blog.

  28. Nice article.

    In answer to Rob. There is a way to get people to click on your ads, but you must do it legitimately, not by asking them to (I know you wouldn’t do that). Part of your problem is probably low traffic, part is there aren’t many ads for your chosen topic. Also, your ads are so bland that they don’t look like anything. They look like something your visitors shouldn’t touch. You put up a grey wall so they think they shouldn’t go there.


  29. Great info, the best advice I’ve seen about blogging.

  30. I do not get many clicks on the ads on my blog but the blog does increase my income since it leads people to the main web site where they do click on ads.

    This is very doable using a a narrow niche [keyword] from the web site topic for the blog title. the blog usually gets better search engine ranking. And then it brings readers to pages on the web site via links, posts linked to the main site etc.

    . The blog may not make much ‘ad sense’ money but it indirectly generates money by bringing folks to pages that do get clicks.


  31. Hi,
    There’s some very informative info here on how to get your blog more traffic. I’ll be trying some of these tips soon.
    Thanks John M Net-eBooks.com

  32. Very informative article. I’ll definitely try blogging once I find a good topic or niche to fill. Can you recommend a good site where I could host my blog?

  33. Now I Know Why

    Now I know why I started this blog. It was to keep up my writing practice. Fom the time I was fourteen until maybe I was twenty one or so, I wrote every day, for practice. About anything. Without really thinking. Until the action of writing became more…

  34. […] Originalartikel: Principles of Choosing a Profitable Blog Topic […]

  35. Personally, I am planing of creating a few new blogs (about 5)in the near future im my main field of expertise. My plan for now is that the four of them will have a very narrow topic and the last one will cover all the topics of the other blogs plus a few more. We will see, if it’s going to work.

  36. Thanks for the great info, Darren. I am just beginning my first “blogging for dollars experiment,” and this helps a lot.


  37. […] Since we are starting a new blog from scratch we need to take some time to think about what the topic of our blog will be. I know from experience that choosing the wrong topic, especially for a blog you plan to monetize, can make all the difference of whether you are successful or not. Darren Rowse, from Problogger.net has written a very good post on the principles of choosing a profitable blog topic. If you are just starting out and don’t have a topic yet, you should give it a read. […]

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  39. I blog about fibromyalgia and arthritis.
    I guess this is just too broad as there are more than 400 types of arthritis alone!

  40. When choosing a profitable blog topic, do you apply the same techniques used when choosing a profitable niche?

  41. Blogging about bone health and osteoporosis is really tough because the top search engines results are always given to .orgs, .govs and .edu sites. I am definitely going to take your advice and narrow the niche.

  42. […] Problogger is the quintessential blog about making money online. This blog has tips on how to start a blog, SEO it, monitizing it and everything in […]

  43. Blogs are becoming one of the most important source in order to share views and outlooks what you have done to make your thing outrageously successful.I like the concept has been given there.

  44. My main concern is that you can’t guarantee every page of your website will be included in the SERPs. Considering I’m constantly adding new products to my company’s website, I need to be sure that customers can find them as soon as possible.http://www.seoptimizerz.com

  45. Boy! I am contemplating starting blogging in order to supplement my income but the amount of information out there and to learn about blogging is astounding!

    The largest difficulty for me has been choosing a topic. I am intersted in so many different areas but am only a master of technology – specifically web site design and graphics design. These topics are covered more than abundantly. Not sure what I will write about …. hmmmmmmmmm

  46. georgetui says: 10/13/2007 at 2:00 am

    Great forum!
    I found a lot of interesting information here.
    Does this forum helpful for you also?

  47. seonewbieJay says: 11/25/2007 at 6:21 pm

    To get high rankings in Yahoo and MSN is all about links? I can get ranked easier in Google with links,
    but the other two I have no clue.

  48. I am intrigued by your Athens Olympics Blog. Clearly it was a project that had some sort of ending to it rather than a blog that intends to go on and on. So within a short period of time you were able, somehow, to gain a high page ranking so that you would be seen high on search results. How you did that I dont know but this may account for the months of preparation you mention. Also I notice that your articles are text only with hyper links. I can imagine you guys were writing stuff and emailing it into your site rather than mucking about with html editors to arrange the article, or using the WISIWIG editor either.

    I can imaging you guys sitting in front of a couple of tvs writing up the news as it comes in live, you are then pressing the enter button and woosh the mail goes off and its a new article in your blog.

    Nice one.. I shall think about that.

    I dont know if your holding site, Living Room has anything to do with raising your initial page ranking?



  49. dschibut says: 09/30/2008 at 9:19 am

    I began this discussion to evaluate public usable web proxies:

    Which are really anonymous?

    Which can be used with facebook, myspace etc, in other words: are fresh ?

    Which would you recommend?

    Thanks for your help,

    P.S.: In my land, the freedom of speech is somehow constrained, please give me a hint, if you have doubts about your recommendation.

  50. I’ve noticed that many of the existing comments have either alluded to or stated outright what I feel about choosing a profitable blog topic: pick a topic that you feel will incite a debate or discussion (like this topic about choosing a profitable blog topic) :).

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