6 Biggest Mistakes Bloggers Make When Choosing Their Niche
For new bloggers, picking the right niche can be a paralyzing kind of decision. Will anybody care? Is there any money to be made? Those post covers 6 of the biggest mistakes I’ve watched people make over the years when it comes to picking their niche.
So, you want to build an online business. And perhaps blogging seems like an avenue which would work for you. But then, for many, they hit the very first wall and struggle.
What niche should you go into?
What should you blog about? Is there any potential for you within that topic? And, is there any money to be made?
These questions end up paralyzing a lot of people. That fear of getting it wrong often means you don’t make any forward progress. In some cases, people DO start their blogs but that nagging question remains on whether the market they chose is a good one.
In this post, I’m going to talk about six of the biggest mistakes that are often made when it comes to picking a niche. But first…
What Is A Niche And Why Does It Matter?
Just in case you’re not familiar with this word, I want to define it for you.
A “niche” is simply the market (or a subset of a market) which you intend to serve. In blogging lingo, it is what you’re going to blog about.
The choice of niche is important because it has a direct impact on the potential for making money down the road. It also impacts your ability to get traffic to your site.
Here at Blog Marketing Academy, my focus is blog-based marketing which then powers a BUSINESS. And businesses make money.
So, that’s my angle as I come into niche selection. I’m looking at it in terms of ability to build a business in that niche and serve that marketplace. Obviously if you’re doing this solely as a hobby and you just want to blog about something you think is cool, then go right ahead!
If money isn’t part of your equation, then you can leave this post right now. However, if money is something you do want from your blog, read on.
I especially want to make that clear, given the first mistake…
Mistake #1: Basing It Only On Your Passion.
It is great to have a passion about the niche you go into with your business, but it isn’t a requirement. It isn’t even the first priority.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Passion doesn’t make a good blogging niche.” quote=”Passion doesn’t make a good blogging niche.”]
If you have business ambitions for all this, then it is actually more important that you look into the things on which businesses are made:
- Market demand (in other words, do people care?)
- Market motivation (Do people have merely a passing interest, or are they motivated to fix a problem they have?)
- Demand for solutions. (This is where your product ideas will come from)
- Is money changing hands? (Are people selling in this market already, thereby proving people have enough interest to yank out their wallet?)
See, you could have a huge passion for collecting…. I don’t know… coke bottles. 🙂 You love collecting old coke bottles. That’s great, but what pathway to business is there in a blog about old coke bottles? Probably none besides advertising. If that.
Mistake #2: Going Too Broad
Many bloggers make the mistake of going too broad with their niche. They stay too general and their potential audience is way too big.
As an example, I see this pretty often in the “personal development” niche. I see a lot of bloggers who start up blogs in this niche out of a true desire to help other people. I think it is commendable. Problem is… from a business perspective, it is WAY too broad. And they end up with a bland blog full of quotes and pump-me-up’s – none of which is going to generate any business whatsoever.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Personal development bloggers often make this CLASSIC mistake.” quote=”Personal development bloggers often make this CLASSIC mistake.”]
Not to mention trying to serve a market with motivational quotes is rather funny. Who searches the Internet for motivational quotes? If a person is unmotivated, do you think they’re the type who will be motivated enough to take such an action? Much less buy anything? But, I digress. 😉
You have to get more specific with your selection of niche. And what I mean by that is that you want it to target a specific type of person who is motivated by a certain thing. And that thing needs to be specific enough where you can get to them.
Mistake #3: Thinking No Competition Is A Good Thing
Classic mistake. You have this idea that gets you excited. You go online and look and you see that nobody is doing it yet – and you think that’s awesome and that means it will be smooth sailing.
Not so fast, cowboy.
While lack of competition could be a positive thing for you, it could also mean that nobody cares. It could very well mean that there’s simply no money flowing there. Lack of competition doesn’t necessarily mean that it is an underserved market. It could mean that you ARE the market. 🙂
Personally, I would much rather go into a niche where I saw other people selling things than one where I’m the only one. That competition helps foster demand. You don’t want to be in a position where you’re having to educate your market into having a demand for what you sell. That’s an often-lost uphill battle.
Besides, the internet is a HUGE place. There’s really no such thing as “competition”. You winning doesn’t mean they have to lose.
Mistake #4: Having No Unique Selling Proposition
The unique selling proposition (or USP) is what sets you apart. It is why somebody should pay attention to you over somebody else.
When a blogger goes too broad (see mistake #2) and then does it without being unique in any way, then nothing is going to happen. Traffic remains flat-lined (usually in single digits).
Why should somebody pay attention to you over somebody else who talks about the same thing?
It could be about content quality. It could be about your personality. Your style. Your professionalism. Your level of detail. Your ability to explain things in a way which your audience understands. You get the point.
A USP doesn’t have have to mean talking about something which nobody else talks about it. More often than not, it can be about HOW you do it and how that’s different than the other guys.
Mistake #5: Not Properly Gauging Your Own Interest
Up above, I said that passion isn’t enough to make a business. But I also don’t want you to decide passion isn’t important.
The last thing you want to do is run out of content ideas after only a few blog posts. 🙂
I’ve often told people to do what I call the “idea file test”. And it goes like this…
Sit down and list off 50 blog post ideas for a niche you’re thinking of tackling. Yes, 50 of them.
If you can’t get to 50, then your interest level might not be there.
Mistake #6: Having No Business Model
As I said above, business is my angle here. So, from that standpoint, if you go into a niche with no earthly idea how you’re going to make money, you’re being dumb.
That’s the problem with monetization. For many, it is an afterthought. They start the blog then later go around and try to figure out how to make money with it. That’s the exact reverse of what you should be doing.
Part of judging a niche is to look at business opportunities. And you should figure out what you’re going to do before diving in. Sure, it can adjust on the fly (and it probably will), but you at least have to have SOME idea.
And if you really want to make a good income, your business model shouldn’t revolve all around banner ads.
What happens is that you know you want to make money, so you go out and look for people who are making money and see what they do. Then you try to copy it.
It doesn’t really work. This is what leads to those guys who start blogs in the “make money online” market who are still floundering around trying to learn how to make their first buck. 🙂
Don’t be one of those people.
Picking a niche can be a lonely job. It is a big decision, yet you have nobody around you who can properly guide you. You’re on your own. And the last thing you want to do is pick the wrong one and waste a lot of time.
Well, if this is something you’re struggling with, I have a course inside the Blog Monetization Lab to help you.
It is simply called… Finding Your Niche.
I have been doing this a long time. In fact, I didn’t always get it right.
I created my first blog in 1998 – in the technology niche. Talking about dorky things like building computers and how PCs worked. At the time, it was a good niche. Today, it is a MUCH more difficult niche to make a business out of. I managed to do it. It wasn’t easy. But, I tell you one thing…
I learned a LOT about niche selection over the course of running that site. I know first hand some of the mistakes that can be made, because I got a lot further down the road with it and had to work my way through some issues that I could have understood in the beginning – if I only knew.
Then, there’s the Academy itself. With this site, I knew full well what I was doing. Not only that, over the last 6 years, I have helped scores of bloggers in the beginning phases of their blogging. The idea of niche selection is a common one, let me tell you. 🙂
So, I put together a short little course designed to talk you through the selection process. It is video-based. Easy to follow. And by the end, you’ll make a decision.
This course is part of the Blog Monetization Lab.
See ya soon,
Hm…..I guess I’m sort of scared of the technical aspects. I’m a big-picture-person and I sort of commit to a concept and then work inwards and split it into segments and deal with details.
So, I used to do underground food events and have an email list of +13,000 , all local people, interested in unique food events/items. On Monday I put the list live again, with mailchimp , and told people that I’ll be starting a newsletter, advising them of unique events and new food products etc.
So, I have the concept, I have a good base audience, but being a ‘technical moron’ (and I write that with pride) I’m really overwhelmed with the thought of having to do a bunch of technical stuff and links and whatever else.
I think a lot of pain can be avoided with testing. In building software, developers write tests to formally prove that a function always returns the same output given an input. The business marketing equivalent of that is measuring popularity and clicks and how effective something is through statistics. Some people do this by acquiring a few different URLs and trying a few different ads on each one to see what causes more clicks. Some people do this by using the types of companies listed at http://www.facebooklikesreviews.com to get more Facebook fans and see if something gets any traction for going viral. If you do this, you’ll have a much better notion of which of your competing ideas is likely to be the most effective.
You took the words right out of my mouth 🙂
Passion alone isn’t enough to build a successful blogging business and I was guilty of going too broad with my niche for a couple of years before I settled on blogging. Now I’ve found my niche and my voice in the marketplace, creating content, building my email list, etc, is SO much easier and I’m actually having FUN!
Keep up the good work!
Which niche you on right now kerry? am about to start a blog but stuck in selecting niche 🙁
I’m beginning to feel like I inspired this post lol…..
Great post btw and I am also trying to solve that Number 2 issue…..
Maybe you should make a whole post on how to solve Number 2 lol
In all fairness, he did make a whole course from that 🙂
Yep, there’s a course there. But, you’re an Academy member. So, stay tuned. You’ll be granted access. 🙂
Basing a blog on your passion is guaranteed to produce 2 results: #1. Your passion turns into a nightmare. #2. You struggle to get any readers because what excites you about your passion isn’t what excites everyone else.
Your blog needs to be based on more solid foundations such as finding people who want what you can give them then, when you’ve found them, letting them know you can give them that thing they want.
Nice – I’ve been struggling with #2 for a while, and really haven’t been able to figure out way to dig deep without feeling like I’m really limited in the content I post. It’s an intersection between #2 and #5 I guess.
I recently got some advice that I don’t necessarily have to focus on single things for the life of my blog, but I do need to figure out the unique value that all of my content provides, and carve out sub-niches within these more generalized areas, then market those to my different types of readerships.
Would you say that’s accurate? Or am I doomed with that advice?
Not quite sure what the jist of that advice was. Was it that you can wander into other unrelated niches as long as you know the value?
It was more like you can wander into other related areas as long as you’re serving the niches within them.
Like for me, I like to write about productivity, money, building a successful mindset, etc. I see these things as related, but also see how they are not the same
I guess I’m just trying to package this up into a theme I can create around while still satisfying my readers deepest needs.
To me, picking just one is not fulfilling. It’s a bit of a conundrum. If I don’t like to write about something I know I’m not going to serve that market well
Would your course help? I feel like I need to figure this out before I can be effective.