The Beginner's Guide to Choosing a Money Making Blog Niche
Updated: November 12, 2018
This post is obviously going to be about how to choose the right blog niche for yourself. And I'm definitely going to get to that but first I want to make sure that your head is in the right place.
When you came up with the idea of starting a blog (or are actively considering it) did you imagine that you would spend months or years toiling away on the blog before you made a single penny?
Did you imagine that at some point maybe the blog could replace your job or if you don't have a job, the blog could replace the income that your partner might be bringing in?
These might seem like dumb questions with obvious answers but you'll understand why I asked them in a bit.
But again, before all of that, let's talk about hot dogs.
Your Hot Dog Stand
You've decided that you're going to create a hot dog stand because you love hot dogs. You know you make great hot dogs and you know they are going to sell well.
You only decided to go this route because everybody has been raving about your cucumber leaf dogs.
Oh, you didn't know? Your hot dogs aren't the hot dogs that everyone else is used to. Your hot dogs are made with cucumber leaves.
Sidenote: I honestly have no idea if cucumber leaves are a thing, but let's just run with it.
10 people have tried them and told you how awesome you are so you figured it makes sense to start a hot dog stand selling your cucumber leaf hot dogs.
You invest money and spend a lot of time getting things ready.
On opening day you don't make any sales.
That's okay! Running a business is about persistence so you keep on pushing.
3 months later you've sold 10 hot dogs to those 10 people that really loved them.
Now, you might be thinking, this is the dumbest business analogy you've ever read. Nobody in their right mind would start a hot dog stand with hot dogs made from cucumber leaves. If you're going to start a hot dog stand you start with the basics.
The things that you know a majority of the people like. You do this because you want to have the best odds of success with your new venture.
Then as time goes on, you might add some specialties. Maybe you make a fancy chili to go on top of the hot dog or you come up with a ridiculous pretzel bun.
But you only do that stuff once you know the basics are working.
That seems pretty logical and I'm sure you'd agree that this is the best route to go.
You might be seeing where I'm going with this. So many people want to start a blog in some random niche that they have an interest in and they truly believe that they will see the same success as other bloggers.
At some point down the road they might but usually, there is a bigger chance that they might not.
Too many bloggers are out here making cucumber leaf hot dogs instead of old-fashioned franks in a bun.
This guide was created to make sure you avoid the cucumber leaf shit and focus on what is going to get you to your dream lifestyle.
I'm a Niche Chaser
I make money through blogging.
Actually, I make a lot of money through a lot of blogging.
I currently run over 13 blogs across different niches. You don't need to do this to reach your goals.
One blog is just fine, trust me.
I create different blogs because I'm curious to see how different niches work and what someone needs to do to be successful in them.
I've had some duds along the way but most of the time I find success with my niche choices because I follow some basic principles and I'm going to share these principles with you.
In a second...
For now, let's talk about the people that you need to keep in mind when starting a blog.
I know, I know, you just want the damn niche advice but trust me, all of this stuff is important.
Let's talk about your future audience.
First things first. Your future audience doesn't care about your passions. They aren't mean people, they just don't know you well enough yet to care about the things that you love.
They care about their passions and their problems. If you can't help them with one of these things then they don't have any business with you.
Some bloggers will tell you that if you're going to start a blog, then you should start a blog in something you are passionate about but then you have to ask were they born with a passion to start a how to make money blog?
It's weird for people to give you one set of advice and they do the complete opposite.
I won't be that friend.
As you'll soon see, your passions and interests can play a role in choosing a niche but I believe that people overplay the whole passion thing.
What I've found is that I can build up enough interest in something when I discover that it can make me money.
You see, my passion is experiencing life. That means traveling and spending time with family and friends. Money helps me do that.
My passion isn't sitting down at a computer and writing content in WordPress.
I enjoy doing it, but it's not my passion.
So most of my blogs aren't passed around anything that I'm passionate about. They are based on topics that my audience is passionate about.
If you want to have a successful blog then you need to keep in mind that it's not about you. It's all about them.
That's a very important thing to remember.
In fact, it's so important you should get it tattooed on your chest so whenever you step out of the shower and look at yourself you're reminded that it's not about you.
Okay, now we can finally start talking about niches.
What Is a Niche?
In essence, a niche is simply a segment of an audience that is interested in something or looking to solve a problem around something.
Niches can be large (parenting) or they can be small (parenting 2-year old left-handed children).
When you start off you might think that your niche is a topic but the reality of it is, your niche is actually your audience.
That means over time you might see your niche slowly change with your blog as you get to know your audience and their needs.
It's no coincidence that a lot of mommy bloggers start talking about mommy things and then slowly transition over to blogging things. Over time their audience becomes more interested in learning about how to build a successful blog like the blogger than they are figuring out how to pack a kid's lunch.
As you work on your blog your niche might expand or it might shrink. Don't worry about which way it goes because you can make money both ways.
I know a lot of people have a fear about choosing the wrong niche but you'll see that these things are pretty flexible.
How to Choose the Right Blog Niche
The moment has finally arrived! It's time to discover how to choose the right blog niche.
I'm not a complicated person. I like to keep things simple so there aren't going to be any crazy formulas that you need to figure out.
Instead, I start with the idea that any blog I start must fall under one of these four categories:
- Getting laid (dating, relationships, sex)
- Getting paid (making money, saving money)
- Staying alive (health, nutrition, dieting)
- Passion hobby (bullet journals, gardening, home decorating)
Can a blog survive if it isn't under one of these categories? I'm sure it can but I don't bother trying because for me there is no point. If I know something works then I'm going to stick with that.
Trust me, there are 100s of topics/niches that fall under these categories so you won't be left wanting.
Here are 7 blogs that I run along with the categories that they fall under:
- Obstacle.co (getting paid)
- Thrive/Strive (staying alive)
- The Daily Nutrition (staying alive)
- Miss Fit Living (staying alive)
- Struggle.co (getting paid)
- Bogoten (passion hobby)
- Mama Paisa (passion hobby)
As you can see I haven't really dived into the getting laid category. I'm not actively avoiding it, I just find other niches more fascinating I guess but I'm sure eventually our paths will cross.
All of these blogs do a minimum of 20,000 pageviews a month.
Three of them currently do over 100,000 pageviews a month.
In the upcoming months, I expect all of them to be doing over 100,000 pageviews a month.
My goal is to select niches that give me a chance to reach 100s of thousands or even millions of people each month.
The more people I can reach, the better chance I have of making money.
Remember this: making money with a blog is all about being able to build an audience.
This is where some bloggers that like to dwell in micro-niches start to pull their hair out so I figure I should address these people.
Micro-niche blogs are blogs that niche down very low to the point where they have a very specific audience in mind.
For example, if I start a gardening blog a person that wants to do a micro-niche blog to compete with me would do a blog around Grandiflora Roses.
The appeal of a micro-niche blog is that if you can find the audience and attract them to your site then you have a great chance of getting them to open up their wallets because they are passionate about that one specific thing.
I have nothing against micro-niche blogs but I don't like the idea of trying to find a niche that has an audience that is large enough AND passionate enough to spend money.
If you can find a micro-niche with an audience like that it can be very lucrative but it's just not my thing. I prefer to cast a wide net and see what I can bring in. That way if one topic I'm writing about completely fails, I have other topics to fall back on.
Large Audience Doesn't Always Equal Big Money
Every week I get an email from an ambitious blogger that tells me they want to start a blog that helps people with mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.
I applaud these people because I think it's great to want to help others. I try to do that with every blog I start. You can make good money and still help people out. Don't think those two things are exclusive.
However, if you have a blog about depression, you'll notice that it doesn't fall under one of the four categories above. You could argue that it falls under the "staying alive" category but I don't believe so.
My point is that just because there are a lot of people that suffer mental illnesses, that doesn't necessarily make it a good niche to make money in. I'm not trying to deter you from such niches, but you should definitely control your expectations with regards to your success in them.
The Best Blog Niches to Make Money With
By now you should have a general idea of what works and what doesn't but if you want even more help then I got you covered.
Whenever I start a blog and I discover that it falls under one of the four categories above, then I see if it falls under one of these specific niches.
Now, some of you might not like this approach because you really want to start your cucumber hot dog blog and I don't want to stop you.
Follow your dream!
For everybody else, here is how I approach things.
1. How to Make Money
Of course, I'm going to list this one first. It's one of the 6 secrets that rich bloggers don't tell you.
There is money to be made in teaching others how to make money.
This makes sense. If I tell you that if you give me $499 and I can help you make $10,000 then wouldn't you take that offer?
Money is just one of those things that people want and for good reason.
Unfortunately, many people that jump into this niche do things the wrong way. What they'll do is start a blog in the niche and then fake the funk.
They become bloggers that lie to give off the impression they know what they are talking about.
The reality of it is, they are just saying what other people have said even though they have no experience in it.
So what do you do if you really want to enter this niche?
You simply start your blog by sharing your journey. Instead of proclaiming you're an expert from day one, show your audience that you're learning this as you go along.
There is nothing wrong with that and people enjoy this approach.
You have to remember, that no matter what you're always going to be one step ahead of someone in your audience. You don't need to pretend that you make $5,000 a month blogging when you really don't.
As each month goes by you'll gain more experience until a year later you really do know what you're talking about.
What you'll often find is that most bloggers will start in another niche and as they build success with that one, they will then turn that success into the how to make money niche. Your content becomes more realistic when you can say that you've made $2,000 with your knitting blog.
There are enough shitty people in this niche, you don't need to add to that group. You can do things the right way and see great success if you choose to.
2. Personal Finance
This one ties in very neatly with the one above and you can actually include them both in the same blog but some people like to only talk about personal finance things like frugal living and budgeting.
Of course, investing and things like that can fall under this niche along with how to make money but I don't wan to get too technical here for you.
Basically, almost any personal finance blog can fall under the how to make money niche, but not every how to make money blog is going to fall under the personal finance niche.
3. Health and Fitness
The niche that I've seen the most success in but that's partly because it involves my earliest blog, Thrive/Strive.
You know people are always looking to lose weight, eat better, get stronger, and live longer so this niche will never die.
It's so broad that even if you niche down twice you'll still find yourself reaching a ridiculously huge audience.
I also run a membership site within this niche called Keto Dash.
Just like the niche above, people are always going to want to eat and that means finding new recipes.
To be honest with you, I don't touch this niche unless it's part of another niche (health & fitness + food) simply because it's pretty hard to monetize.
It can be easy to get traffic using Pinterest, but from there you're almost left with ads being your best source of making money.
There is nothing wrong with that but as you go along your blogging journey you don't want to put all of your revenue into one stream.
Another reason why I don't touch this niche is because it's very picture heavy and I'm not the type to go around creating new things in the kitchen and then trying to get the perfect picture for them.
5. Beauty and Fashion
This is probably the hardest niche on this list to be successful with simply because the rules are a bit different.
With fashion, you have to be a style-maker or get on the radar of other style makers.
It's not impossible, I'm working on it now, but many wannabe fashion bloggers think they can just walk onto the street, take photos in fancy outfits and things start to happen.
What I recommend for people looking to enter this niche is to expand the blog into more of a lifestyle blog that just so happens to include your fashion.
6. Personal Development
I have reservations about including this one because people see it and their eyes light up. They want to help people become better people!
Unfortunately, there isn't much room for success here unless you truly can help people become better versions of themselves in a specific way.
Maybe this is learning a new language in 6 months or public speaking.
This is the one size fits all niche and probably the one that causes the most confusion amongst new bloggers.
If you follow the advice that you need to niche down to be successful with a blog and then you come across a lifestyle blog that is doing well, your brain will explode. You won't know what to do with yourself because lifestyle blogs talk about so many different things!
You know how you can buy anything from Amazon? Well with a lifestyle blog you can write about anything.
Pretty neat, right?
The problem is that if you really do just write about anything you won't get very far. You need to hone in on specific topics and run with those.
My blog Bogoten falls under the lifestyle niche and as you can see it tackles a number of different topics. However, I've narrowed the topics mostly down to organization and DIY.
The idea is that I build up enough content around those topics before branching out into more.
You don't want to make the mistake of writing about 20 different topics with only one piece of content in each. You want other relatable content that your audience can find and bounce around to on your site.
Passion Hobbies Are in the Lifestyle Niche
Passion hobbies are what usually falls under lifestyle blogs in my mind. This is just terminology so don't get too caught up in it.
If you want to start a parenting blog then for me that's a passion hobby. These kinds of blogs are good because people tend to be irrationally passionate about something.
It's like starting a Pokémon blog or a blog on bullet journals.
If you can find a niche where people are irrationally passionate about the subject then you have something good on your hands because those people have no problem spending money.
I'm working on a blog about dogs and another blog on party-planning. Both of these topics have millions of fanatical people in them that have no problem spending money to get the results that they want.
Can the Niche Make Money?
Once you've uncovered a niche that you feel you want to write about then you need to do some research. Look to see what other blogs are in your niche and if they are doing well.
If you discover that there aren't any blogs in your niche, don't fall into the trap of thinking that you're just so smart you've uncovered a niche nobody is writing about yet.
I never enter a niche that doesn't have competition.
I'd much rather other people be the guinea pigs in testing niches before I dip my toes into the water and I suggest you do the same.
When looking for blogs ask yourself a couple of questions:
- How long has the blog been around? Blogs that have been around for years show that there is something in the niche to keep the blogger around.
- Has the blog been recently updated? Active blogs usually mean active audiences.
- How is the blog making money? Are there clear monetization strategies behind the blog?
If you find a number of other successful blogs in your chosen niche then you are good to go.
You might be worried about competition but there are so many people online and so many new people entering your niche daily (if you chose the right one) that competition is something you should embrace, not run from.
How Do You Want to Make Money?
Something else you need to consider is how do you want to make money because this will dictate how broad or narrow you go with your niche selection.
The broader your niche the harder it becomes to sell a book or course because your audience is spread out.
Here is what I mean.
Let's say you have a lifestyle blog with the following topics:
- Home Decor
10% of your posts are about travel and they seem to do well so you decide to write a book on how to get cheap airfare when traveling.
The problem is that the majority of your audience is going to all of the other topics. So if you want to sell your own products you might have to consider creating products in each niche.
However, if you only have a travel blog then you know your audience is 100% interested in travel so you can market your product to all of them.
This isn't a hard rule to follow, but it's something you need to consider. If you have no idea how you want to make money with your blog yet, then don't worry.
Just cast your wide net and if you find one of your topics is really starting to take off then you can put more focus on that topic.
Seriously, blogging is just one giant experiment.
If you aren't sure of the different ways you can make money blogging then check out How to Make Money Blogging: A Beginner’s Guide to Working at Home.
Guidelines, Not Rules
I want to emphasize this point.
These are the guidelines I follow and the ones I suggest to BBC Members.
My goal is to build blogs that can be enjoyed by 100s of thousands of people because that makes it easier for me to make money.
You might find a random niche blog that is doing a couple thousand dollars a month and want to throw that in my face as an example that goes against what I'm saying here.
At the end of the day, you can probably make money blogging in any niche but your timeline is going to be drastically different when you focus on a niche that has millions of people in its audience vs one that has thousands.
I want to enter niches where I can see these types of numbers:
Those are just some of my revenue numbers from a niche (health/staying alive) that does well for me.
I like getting quick results (nice growth within a couple of months) because I tend to be laid back when it comes to what I do. I don't want to spend days or weeks researching a very narrow topic in the hopes that I can one day rank well on Google and get good traffic.
I want it to do well on Pinterest so I can start seeing traffic from day one. It's why one of the premium courses in BBC is about Pinterest.
Seriously, this is the best Pinterest course around. I know everybody says that about their Pinterest course but those people don't show the same success across a number of different profiles.
With all of this being said, if you still feel that your blog is going to do well in the niche that you've chosen, then I wish you the best of luck. It's not on me to tell you not to follow your dream. It's just my job to help you be aware of how other bloggers choose their successful paths.