Picking a niche for my blog has been a paralyzing and frustrating process over the last couple of years. I’ve started and abandoned many a blog in my day, and it has taken about a year of consistent learning to even loosely decide that this blog’s general niche is something I want to write about. I know that other bloggers get hung up on picking a niche, too, which is why I want to share my mistakes with you and what I’ve figured out so far.
1. The reason you’re worrying about your niche so much is because you’re too desperate to make money.
I’m starting here because it’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s probably true for most people. I know it was for me. I’ve blogged for small businesses before, but last year was the first time I ever got really serious about wanting to blog for myself because I was starting to learn about affiliate marketing, course creation, and ebook writing. I wanted to do it because it seemed like a good way to make extra money, but I low-key just wanted to miraculously hit it big and be able to quit my job.
I can tell you now, that’s not a good way to go about blogging.
Blogging takes patience. I’m one of the most impatient people I know, so I know it hurts to hear. But realistically, you’re not going to make money from it right away, so worrying about which niche is going to allow you to quit your job next month isn’t a good strategy.
I don’t necessarily think you have to pick something you love, and you can certainly pick something that you don’t know much about just because you think it will make money, but I am saying that if you do that, you need to get ready for things like writer’s block, nonstop research to stay up on trends that you don’t necessarily follow otherwise, and a possible burnout.
2. Blogs are fluid, and they can evolve into different niches and sub-niches as you go.
To add to my charming, impatient, perfectionist traits, I also like to do this thing where I want to know exactly how everything is going to be from start to finish before I do anything. I’m lovely.
For example, I didn’t start this blog for a year because I needed to know that I and everyone else would love it, so I wanted to pick a niche that was perfect for me. Turns out, there really isn’t one. Even in the last few weeks that I’ve been working on this blog, it’s gone from personal development, to money issues, to alternative income. After my last blog post and a couple of videos I did, it’s transformed even more into something more like “non-traditional living” or a “design your life” type of thing. The more I write and interact with the people reading, the more I’ll know what this really is.
Just like I don’t think we have one magical purpose in life, I don’t think there’s one magical niche for everyone, either. As you write and just do it, the niche becomes more and more obvious, so it’s tough to make that all happen inside of your head with no action.
Solution: start writing what comes easiest to you and test the waters. What are people resonating with? What are you resonating with? Go towards those things.
3. There’s no such thing as an over-saturated niche.
I say this, but I still struggle with not believing it sometimes because I’m human. I didn’t want to write about writing or blogging or personal development because everyone is doing it. I had the same worries when I wrote my health and fitness blog, and I think a lot of us give up before we even start because of the imagined competition.
But you know what? Last week, we took my husband’s car in for a smog check and guess what was directly across the street from us? Another smog check station. Not just a smog check station, but one that also had great reviews and was literally attached to a sushi bar that had good reviews, too, so you could get a drink and some sushi while you wait for your car (weird, I know). Yet, we were at the other smog check station because we liked how friendly they were over the phone. My point is, there’s enough business to go around for everyone and there are enough people in the world that some will connect with your competition and some will connect with you.
People can write from a perspective that just clicks with some and not with others. And like the example I mentioned, this can be true for almost any profession or business. I’ve had hair stylists do a great job on my hair but I never went back to them because I didn’t really like them personally. I’ve also read some blogs, hated them, then read them again a few months later and resonated. You just never know. Don’t count yourself out before you even try.
Action is the cure
If you’re paralyzed by the task of picking a niche, my best advice is not to. Just start writing posts and sharing them and see where that takes you. People have made money with some pretty outrageous blog topics, but they add value to those niches, so the money follows. You can’t lead with the money.
Free-write your way to an answer
Still stuck? Do a free-writing session. Pull up a Word or Google doc and just write without thinking. I’ve done this a few times around the blog niche topic and it has really helped me get out of my head.
Here’s an example of something close to what I’ve free-written before starting this blog (keep in mind that free-writes don’t need to be grammatically correct as long as you understand what you wrote because it’s just for you):
“I don’t know what I’m doing and I don’t know what I’m writing about, I just want to figure this out and I can’t. I feel like writing about money but I don’t think I’m good with money. So why would anyone care? I just don’t think I’m going to actually make money with this because I’m not an expert or a financial planner or whatever, I don’t know. I DON’T KNOW. Maybe just document. Maybe just do it as I go. Maybe just learn while I do it and hope for the best. What can I write about right now? Money struggles and how we got over them? How I make some extra money when I need it?”
You get the picture? Just go for it. Get the thoughts out of your head, no matter how nonsensical and weird. Do this a few times and I’m almost positive you’ll get your answers like I did when I was really struggling with it.
Go start now.